A herniated disc occurs when the gel-like fluid between vertebrae ruptures and leaks out of place. When this happens, the spinal disc presses against the nerves that run near the vertebrae, causing severe herniated disc pain. Herniated disc pain is treated with a combination of medication and physical rehabilitation, but in more severe cases, surgery to repair the herniation may be necessary. No matter how mild or severe the herniated disc pain is, a modification of day to day movements is probably in order to prevent the herniation from occurring again in the same or in a different spinal disc.
Very often herniated disc pain stems from some sort of traumatic injury or through a sporting injury. If this is the case, the first step in treating the herniated disc pain is to rest the injury thoroughly. This rest should last anywhere from several days to several weeks, as the herniation can often resolve itself given enough time. The mobility of the injury should be limited during this time, and over-the-counter painkillers may be used to dull the pain. If the pain is severe enough that over-the-counter medications do not work, one can visit a doctor for a stronger prescription.
In very severe cases, the herniated disc may need a surgical procedure to completely resolve all symptoms and pain. This should be considered a last resort, and it usually only occurs if the rupture is causing neurological issues such as cauda equina syndrome, in which the sufferer cannot control his or her bowels, numbness in the genitals is constant or recurring, and the legs become weak or numb. These are considered serious symptoms of a larger problem, and the spinal disc will be surgically removed.
In just about all cases of herniated disc pain, physical rehabilitation is recommended. Such rehab usually does not target the herniated disc specifically; instead, it aims to stabilize the rest of the spine to reduce the risk of a herniated disc in the future. Therapy may be combined with a regular stretching routine, as well as a core workout that develops and maintains the muscles in the lower back, hips, thighs, and stomach. These muscles are primarily responsible for supporting the spine and ensuring it stays in a properly aligned position throughout the day and while participating in physical activity. Posture training may also be necessary to ensure daily activities such as sitting at an office chair are not contributing to the pain.