If you have lower back pain that radiates down your hip and leg, you might have a herniated disc. A disc is a spongy piece of tissue that acts as a cushion between the vertebrae in your spine. The inside of the disc has a substance that is thick like jelly so it can absorb shock. When a disc herniates, the jelly bursts through the covering of the disc so the cushioning effect is lost. Also, the bulging part of the disc rubs against the spine. This causes nerve irritation and pain. Here are some of the ways your doctor can treat a herniated disc. 


There are different types of medication your doctor can try. Some of them block the transmission of pain through your nerves so it no longer radiates down your hip and leg. Others stop muscle spasms to relieve lower back pain. Others are prescription pain relievers that you may need to take for the short term. Taking pain killers for the long term isn't usually recommended since they are addictive and they can have undesirable side effects too. Anti-inflammatory medications may help as well. Some are injected directly into the disc to reduce swelling and pain.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy exercises can help heal your back and relieve pain. When your back hurts, you tend to hold it differently and change the way you move and stand. This leads to muscle fatigue and pain. The right kind of exercises strengthen your back muscles to prevent strain and injury. Also, a therapist will teach you the proper positions for standing, sitting, and sleeping so pressure is kept off the disc in your spine, which reduces pain.


Surgery is not always needed for a herniated disc. If your pain doesn't get better after several weeks or if your nerve is affected in a way that makes it difficult to walk or move your leg, then your doctor may decide surgery is necessary. If the damaged disc is removed, the doctor may fuse the vertebrae together on each side of it so your nerves won't get pinched when you move around. However, the entire disc may not have to come out. Depending on your condition, the doctor might just remove the protruding portion of the disc.

Your pain and discomfort from a herniated disc should go away in a matter of weeks even if the disc itself doesn't completely heal. It is possible to have a herniated disc and not experience pain. Therefore, you want to do what you can to keep the pain from coming back. This includes protecting your back when you lift, maintaining ideal body weight, and improving your posture so no strain is on your spine.

If you've suffered a herniated disc in your spine, talk to doctors at clinics like the Pain Relief Center to learn more about your treatment options.