A herniated disc occurs when trauma or degeneration causes the nucleus of the disc to herniate through the weakened layers of the outer disc and leak out into the spinal canal. In the case of a lumbar herniated disc, the weak spot is directly under the spinal nerve route, so a herniated disc in this area can put direct pressure on the nerve.
Not all herniated discs cause symptoms, but the ones that do can cause extreme levels of pain throughout the spine and legs, where the nerves are connected.
Comprehensive Spine & Pain in Atlanta specializes in medically treating the extreme pain caused by this and many other ailments. However, there are a few ways that you can help to alleviate herniated disc pain at home. We will outline a few of them here:
Over the counter pain relievers
Before consulting with a pain specialist, you can try using some over the counter pain relievers. Medications like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, etc.) or naproxen (Aleve) can help reduce the pain you feel from a herniated disc.
Though these medications are best for light to medium levels of pain (depending on the person’s pain tolerance) they can be a good way to at least reduce the amount of pain being experienced.
Get up and move around
Even though the last thing you probably want to do is get out of bed, you should. Too much bed rest can lead to the problem becoming worse. You should be resting, but you should also take time every couple of hours (at minimum) to get up, move around, and stretch a little bit.
Part of the reason the hernia happened in the first place was the muscles being too weak to hold everything in place properly. You need to strengthen your muscles to correct this issue. Your body will thank you in the long run.
Use heat and cold
Heat can help to relieve muscle spasms, reducing the amount of pain you feel. Spasms in the large muscles like the ones in the lower back can cause extreme pain.
Try using heat pads or hot compress against the lower back periodically throughout the day. Try allowlot yourself at least a half hour to achieve the full effect.
If you don’t have much time, you can use adhesive heat wraps throughout the day that you can wear under your clothes. They will apply a continuous, low level of heat over several hours. Try different heat options to see what works best for your pain. Everybody responds differently.
Breathe in, breathe out
Meditation and breathing exercises can be helpful in relieving pains in the back associated with herniated discs.
The deep stretching associated with yoga can help you to alleviate the pain caused by compression in the spine over time, reducing your dependence on the medicine.
Start slowly, don’t attempt to overexert yourself. The beautiful thing about yoga is that you can do very low-stress alterations of each move. Do what you feel comfortable with. Yoga can help back pain over the long term. Don’t focus on feeling relief right away. You don’t want to injure yourself further.
When you need to consult with a doctor because of extreme pain caused by herniated discs, we are here to help. If you are feeling a manageable level of pain, these techniques can help you to feel better.
Don’t go overboard! Alleviating pain is a great thing, but doing it safely is more important! Take it slow and move more and more little by little. Let your body dictate to you what is working and what is too much.