The best herniated disc treatment for you will depend on exactly what type of symptoms you are having, how severe your symptoms are, and how limiting the symptoms are to you.
When your symptoms are minor, such as maybe just some mild pain in your low back and a little numbness in one leg.
Your doctor may suggest limiting your activity for a while and taking an over the counter anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen.
More Serious Symptoms?
However, when your symptoms involve muscle weakness or problems with your bowels and/or bladder, you may require emergency surgery.
Always Begin with the Most Conservative and Least Invasive Treatments
If your symptoms are only annoying, perhaps just occasional low back pain and a little intermittent numbness, you may want to just avoid strenuous activity for a few weeks or a few months and see what happens.
Image thanks to raynata, via Wikimedia Commons
In many cases a few weeks of limited activity can give your body a chance to heal. You would want to avoid any bending and lifting type activities as well as anything that makes your symptoms worse.
Gentle exercises such as hamstring stretches and short walks can be helpful if they do not increase your pain.
You may find that with time your symptoms will resolve completely.
You can monitor your symptoms closely and try to determine if any particular activity makes things better or worse. If your pain or other symptoms seem to be getting worse you can always decide on a more aggressive treatment plan.
If things are not Improving...
If your pain and other symptoms are not improving you may want to try some over the counter medications. Always discuss it with your doctor before beginning any new medication.
Anti-inflammatories, like naproxen or ibuprofen, can be helpful for mild pain. They can also reduce inflammation and swelling which may be enough to relieve any symptoms from a pinched nerve.
Over the counter treatments that you put on your skin that contain capsaicin, menthol, or methyl salicylate can be helpful for back pain and for the radiating pain of a nerve that is being irritated.
A Red Flag Warning
If you suddenly notice muscle weakness, or if you ever begin having problems controlling your bowels and/or bladder, it is very important that you contact your doctor immediately.
The nerves control everything, and if a herniated disc is pressing on certain nerves it may cause permanent damage.