3 Simple Tips to Relieve Sciatic Pain from a Lumbar Herniated Disc

When the inner material in your lumbar disc leaks out, or herniates, it can provoke your sciatica symptoms by aggravating a nearby sciatic nerve root.

See Lumbar Herniated Disc: What You Should Know

Lumbar Herniated Disc VideoSciatica is the most common symptom from a lumbar herniated disc.
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Lumbar Herniated Disc Video

You may think you’ve tried every treatment available for your sciatic pain caused by a lumbar herniated disc, but you may not have considered these 3 simple tips:

See Nonsurgical Treatments for a Lumbar Herniated Disc

See What You Need to Know About Sciatica

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1. Consider an epidural steroid injection

If your sciatic pain is severe, you may want to consider an epidural steroid injection for relief from your symptoms. These injections provide relief by delivering anti-inflammatory medication directly into the nerve root that is pinched by your disc. It’s important to note that epidural steroid injections don’t work for everyone—but they do provide significant relief for roughly 50 percent of patients.

See Epidural Steroid Injection Pain Relief Success Rates

The purpose of the injection is to provide temporary pain relief (anywhere from 1 week to 1 year) to allow you to participate in a rehabilitative exercise and stretching program—which in turn can provide you with long-term relief from your symptoms.

See Epidural Injection Procedure

2. Try mental pain control techniques

Regardless of the severity of your sciatica symptoms, mental pain control techniques may provide you with quick relief. The basic idea behind mental pain control techniques is that you can reduce the severity of your experience of pain by focusing your mind on something else.

For example, for as little as 10 minutes a day you can try the “age regression” mental pain control technique:

  • In a dark and quiet room, imagine a time in your life when you were pain-free.
  • Next, simply instruct your mind to behave as if the image you conjured were true.

See How to Stop Your Pain with Your Mind

If mental pain control techniques aren’t for you, you may benefit from simply sitting in a quiet room and controlling your breathing for 2 to 3 minutes.

See Modern Ideas: The Gate Control Theory of Chronic Pain

3. Talk with your doctor about pain medication options

Over-the-counter and prescription medications may provide significant relief from your sciatica symptoms. For example, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen) and oral steroids can help relieve inflammation associated with the nerve that is pinched by your herniated disc.

See NSAIDs: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Additionally, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants or narcotic medications on a short-term basis (typically less than 2 weeks) to alleviate intense sciatic pain.

See Muscle Relaxants for Back Pain

Any of the above tips may help you find relief from sciatic pain caused by a lumbar herniated disc. But as a general rule, if you experience worsening neurological symptoms, if neurological symptoms are present in both legs, or if you have bladder or bowel incontinence don’t attempt self-treatment—seek medical attention straight away.

See When Back Pain May Be a Medical Emergency

Learn more:

Diagnosing a Lumbar Herniated Disc

Exercise for Sciatica from a Herniated Disc

Post written by Andrew Moeller