In this article I will show you 5 tips to help you relieve herniated disc pain.
People suffering from severe herniated disc pain have to opt for surgery as a last resort treatment. However, in cases of moderate pain, people use medication and physical therapy to relieve their pain, with improvements seen in about 4 to 6 weeks.
Here are common tips for relieving herniated disc pain:
Ice and heat therapy
People with herniated disc pain often experience debilitating muscle spasms. Ice and heat applications in the affected areas can be extremely helpful in relieving the inflammation and alleviating pain.
Place an ice pack or cold compresses against your lower back immediately following a back injury. This will numb the affected area and reduce swelling. After about 48 hours, when you experience the onset of back pain, place a hot water bottle or a heating pad against your back.
Heat will dilate the blood vessels and improve the blood circulation, flow of nutrients and adequate oxygen to the surrounding area. This warmth helps soothe and relax the aching muscles, relieves muscle spasm and discomfort, increases blood flow, decreases pain transmission to the brain and facilitates the healing process.
Please keep in mind that cold and heat therapy is helpful only temporarily (say one week)
Exercising is the most common component of herniated disc treatment. It is an effective way to help ease the pressure and strengthen your lower back muscles to prevent further injury and pain. It is also helpful in the healing process and improving function.
Strong back and hamstring muscles support your bones and body weight – taking unneeded pressure off the spine and preventing pain and recurrence.
Gentle exercises (swimming, cycling, walking, and yoga) and stretches improve flexibility in the neck, spine, and back, helping in relieving the pain of a herniated disc.
Some alternative and complementary therapy may be helpful for relief from low back pain. These include:
- Spinal manipulation – It is also termed as spinal manipulative therapy or manual therapy. It combines moving and jolting joints, physical therapy, exercise and massage. In this technique, chiropractors use a device or their hands to apply a controlled pressure directly to your spinal joint in order to fix the spinal alignment
- Acupuncture – In this technique, the therapists insert extremely thin sterilized needles into specific points in the body’s meridians (Chi channels) to release blocked energy (check image). Acupuncture triggers the release of chemicals like endorphins into the blood stream. Endorphins are the natural analgesics and pain relievers. As such, the release of endorphins alleviates your perception of pain.
- Therapeutic massage – This can provide short-term relief to the patients suffering from chronic low-back pain. The massage relaxes aching muscles.
- Movement therapies – Movement therapies like tai chi and yoga, can help strengthen and stretch back muscles.
Avoid too much bed rest
1-2 days of strict bed rest will temporarily give relief from the back pain. However, please keep in mind that this relaxing and resting period should not exceed forty-eight hours.
Too much of relaxing and bed resting results in stiffness in joints and weak muscles, which could result in complications in your healing and recovery.
Change your everyday activities and take frequent rest breaks throughout the day. Avoid sitting for longer time periods. Also, avoid movements or activities that worsen your pain, especially lifting and bending forward.
Instead, rest and lie down in a comfortable position for thirty minutes, and then do some activity/task or go for a short walk. Control all your movements and improve your body awareness.
Take pain relievers
When herniated disc pain is moderate, over-the-counter medications can help relieve inflammation and reduce pain. Medications like naproxen (Aleve, others) or ibuprofen (acetaminophen, Motrin IB, Advil, others)— may help alleviate the pain associated with a herniated disc