Aging and continuous wear and tear of the spine’s natural shock absorbers – the intervertebral discs between vertebrae – can weaken your lower back.
When intervertebral discs are damaged, it can cause intense back pain that may radiate to nerves down the leg and foot.
Pain from a lumbar herniated disc may be short lived or last for several weeks. During the episode, the first 48 hours are generally the most intense. The pain may cause painful spasms in the lower body, including the entire leg and foot or numbness or weakness while standing. Herniated discs’ pain and symptoms usually affect only one side of the body.
Initially, your pain doctor may recommend conservative methods to relieve lumbar herniated disc pain, including –
- NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen may be recommended. These can relieve pain, tenderness and inflammation.
- Muscle Relaxants may be prescribed by your doctor, in the short-term. Some common ones are: Baclofen, Chlorzoxazone and Diazepam.
- Ice packs, in the first 48 hours of back pain, may ease inflammation. Ice will slow inflammation and nerve impulses, interrupting muscle spasms.
- Applying Heat, even a hot bath may reduce muscle spasms in the first 2 days. Heat improves blood circulation and decreases pain signals giving some pain relief.
- Resume light activity as soon as possible to avoid pain and joint stiffness.
For long-term relief, your physician may recommend epidural steroid injections and other pain treatments. Patients experience a 50 percent reduction in pain, a few days after the injection.