Lower back pain is common, especially when you get older, but many people experience it due to lumbar herniated disc. Whether you are in your mid-30s or 60s, you can suffer from disc herniation, which is very painful. Mainly, herniated disc pain occurs in your lower back area. The pain goes down, passing the buttocks to the legs or even feet. When it moves to severity, it jams your life.
Herniated disc pain occurs when the gel inside the inner ring called the nucleus tries to come out of the ruptured disc annulus and compresses the nerve. This is caused due to aging or direct injury. The sciatic nerve gets affected due to lumbar disc herniation. You may feel sharp pain or electric shocks in your lower back, legs, and feet. Burning sensations, including tingling and numbness, can also make your life hell.
Commonly, you don’t need a surgeon to fix the problem; gentle exercises, advice from the doctor, medications, and rest help you get rid of your lumbar pain.
Here, we are sharing some useful tips on what you can do at home to get rid of lower back herniated disc pain.
Rest is Important but Must be Limited
Rest is the best medicine for your severe lumbar pain. Take a couple of days’ rest to allow your back to heal on its own. If you are unable to sit and stand, rest is essential. Also, it helps reduce swelling. But never stick to your bed for long. The more you rest, the stiffer your muscles will become. This can make the problem worse. Therefore, two to three-day rest is enough.
Here, sleeping positions do matter. You should sleep in the best possible position to alleviate pressure from your spinal cord. Pillows are best to use underneath and between the knees.
Cold and Heat Therapies are Beneficial
Cold therapy is quite useful for your sudden sharp pain in the lower back. If a direct injury is the cause of disc herniation, ice will be the best option. The anti-inflammatory effects of cold therapy help reduce inflammation. Also, it reduces swelling. The more you interact with ice in your starting days, the better it will be for you.
You can use ice packs 2 to 3 times a day for 10 minutes, especially before going to bed. If you don’t have ice packs, use an icy cool towel for your affected area. They offer long-lasting coolness for up to four hours. Or you can have some ice cubes covered in cloth.
Once you get rid of inflammation, go for heat therapy. It is equally useful to reduce lower back pain and upper back pain. Use a hot water bag or heating pads before sleep and after waking up in the morning. Heating helps relax your tight muscles. The flexibility and elasticity of the tissues get better with heat therapy. This improves muscle movements and speeds up your recovery time.
Blood circulation is important in the healing process, and heat therapy does increase the blood flow by dilating the blood vessels.
Overall, applying heat to your soring back helps you recover from lower back pain.
Foods to Eat and Avoid
During your resting period, you should avoid eating foods that can trigger inflammation. Avoid dairy products, fast food, and sugary foods at all. All of them may increase inflammation. Also, red meat, vegetable oils, and processed foods are not ideal to eat while experiencing low back pain.
Always try to eat foods having anti-inflammatory properties. Pineapple is the best anti-inflammatory fruit you can eat to help improve back pain. It reduces inflammation along with speeding up the healing process.
Carrot is also helpful in reducing inflammation. It has many nutrients that help fight chronic back pain or knee pain. Other than carrot, sweet potato, pomegranate, and watermelon are all best to eat. You can also have tomato, berries, nuts, and tea. Moreover, celery, ginger, broccoli, onions, soybeans, and salmon are all beneficial for your lower back.
In a nutshell, eat collagen Type I and II foods, anti-inflammatory foods, manganese-rich foods, and foods having Vitamin C, D, and B12.
Exercises to Relieve Lumbar Herniated Disc Pain
Rest is important for your back and leg pain but only for a few days. You should start moving your muscles as early as possible. Do some exercises at home to reduce muscle tension that will help relieve your lower back pain.
Recovery from a herniated disc pain takes time. Many patients take around 3 to 4 months to recover fully, whereas many take only 3 to 4 weeks. If you want to avoid surgery, do some relevant exercises. The more you stretch your muscles and exercise daily, the faster the recovery will be. But make sure you do each exercise gently.
Different exercises and activities provide strength to the muscles supporting your spine. Building muscles in your back is essential, and exercise is the best way to do it.
Low-impact activities are best to start with. You can walk in your backyard or use a treadmill to walk at home. Cycling on a stationary bicycle is also suggested, which many people do. Even swimming is best to treat herniated disc pain.
Slowly and gently increase the level of your activities. The more controlled you are, the better it will be for your lumbar spine.
Note: Not every exercise which we have mentioned here can help you out. If one exercise gives you pain, try another.
Hanging is the first and the easiest of exercises. A hanging bar at home will help you much. If you can easily grab the rod without jumping, do it; otherwise, don’t try to jump to catch it if you think you may get hurt. Use a chair instead to step up and hold the bar.
Hang as long as you can or for 20 to 30 seconds. If there is no pain, repeat the same exercise two more times.
Your spinal compression needs to be decompressed, and hanging helps you decompress your spine. Try to hang up in the morning as it is the best time to do this activity.
Knee to Chest Stretch
After hanging, knee to chest stretch is simple and safe. It helps you stretch your lower back muscles. To do this exercise, lie down straight on your back. Next, bend your one knee, place your hands on the posterior thigh and pull your knee towards your chest. Do it gently to avoid any pain. It is better to keep your head on a soft pillow while doing this stretch.
Repeat the same procedure with your second leg. Try to hold your legs for 5 to 10 seconds in each set.
After doing this activity, try to do a double knee stretch. Here, you need to bring both knees up to your chest simultaneously. Use your hands to hold your knees for up to 15 seconds.
Standing Back Extension
The standing back extension exercise is also one of the easiest. It provides strength to the muscles of your lower back. The best time to do this exercise is in the morning.
To do this stretch, stand straight and put your hands on your waist or low back. Now, lean backward by pushing your pelvis forward. While doing this, make sure your head moves up as you stretch backward. Also, your knees should not be bent.
Lean backward as much as you can without experiencing any pain. Always keep your legs straight so that you can effectively do this extension.
Do this stretch for 10 seconds or more in each set.
You can also do a cat-cow stretch to add strength and flexibility to your spine. For lower disc pain, cat-cow stretch is quite beneficial. The spinal extension and flexion in this cat-cow stretch improve circulation in your discs. Also, it helps relieves tension in your lumbar area.
You need to get into an angry cat posture first. Stand like a cat on your knees and hands. Now, pull your stomach upwards so that your spine turns round. While doing this exercise, make sure you exhale (breath out) and your head goes down with eyes targeting the naval region.
In a cow stretch, inhale (breathe in) and pull your stomach down but lift your chest, tailbone, and head up. This will make a little deep curve in your back.
If the stretch is easy and not painful for you, repeat it 10 times and do two more sets.
Prone and Advanced Lumbar Extensions
Both the prone and advanced stretches help you relieve lumbar pain. The prone extension is called the half cobra pose, and the prone press-up is the full cobra pose.
Both these exercises help guide the inside gel to go back towards the inner ring. This will give you pain relief and speed recovery. The leg pain moves back towards the lower back and gets away with advanced lumbar extensions.
For Prone Extension Stretch (Prone on Elbows), lie down straight on your stomach. Don’t stretch your arms. Bend your elbow to make a 45-degree angle and keep your hands next to your face. Now, slowly pull your head and chest up so that your elbow can make a 90-degree angle. Imagine yourself a half cobra. Your forearm and elbow will help you into this. While doing this activity, keep your hips down.
Hold yourself for 10 to 20 seconds. In the beginning, keep things simple yet effective.
For Advanced Extension Stretch (Prone Press-ups), you need to become a full cobra. If prone extension sessions go ok, you can try the advanced extension.
Here, you need to lift your upper body more by straightening up your arms. Exert pressure on your hands to easily stretch your body up. Slowly make your arms straight and as much as you can. While doing this, your pelvis must be touching the floor.
These two exercises are best for sciatica and lower back pain.
Herniated disc pain in the lower back is common but needs attention. Severe pain in your back and legs can make your life hell. The best way to treat lower back pain is rest, heat and cold therapies, medicine, and gentle exercises. Also, keep an eye on what you are eating during the pain or recovery time.