Lower back pain with a sharp or burning sensation that moves down one leg could be caused by a herniated lumbar disc. This debilitating pain can be managed, but you might have to try a few different methods to find the one that works for you. If the pain becomes unmanageable, health care providers at a spine and disc center can help.
1. Use temperature therapy to relax your muscles.
Low-back disc pain can cause the muscle to tighten. You can use heat and cold therapy to find relief. Before you start moving for the day, apply heat to your back to warm up the muscles and decrease tension. A heating pad can help relieve tension and increase blood flow through the day, especially if your muscles start to tense.
After exercising, use cold packs to reduce inflammation. Then, before bed, take a warm shower or apply heat to relax your muscles for a comfortable night of rest.
2. Exercise for pain relief
Even though it might seem counterproductive, gentle exercise can reduce pain in a herniated disc. Exercising releases endorphins, so you’ll notice your mood improve and the pain decrease.
Recommended exercises include walking at a comfortable pace, training on an elliptical machine, or riding an exercise bike. Swimming or doing water exercises takes the pressure off of your back and can also bring relief. Speak with your health care provider before doing any physical activities.
Gentle stretches during the day can also bring relief to your low back. Consider gentle stretches like cat and cow, as well as supine twists and child’s pose. Never force your body into a stretch. Instead, let the stretch grow as your body allows it.
3. Find a helpful sleeping position
Taking pressure off your low back will make sleeping more comfortable. You can do this by placing pillows under your knees while laying on your back. You can also find relief by putting a pillow between your knees if you sleep on your side. Some people also find comfort by placing pillows under their ankles. Experiment with what works so you wake up rested with a calm low back.
4. Try massage and myofascial release
Massage and myofascial release can improve low back pain. Massage therapists have technicians that reduce muscle tension. Myofascial release uses manual techniques to remove pain at pressure points. A common technique involves using a lacrosse or tennis ball. While standing with your back against a wall, put the ball at a spot where a muscle feels tight. Lean into the ball to let it release tension in the muscle. You can also do this while laying on the floor.
5. Meditate to calm your mind
Dealing with pain involves keeping your mind calm and focused. While meditation won’t fix a physical problem, it can help you relax and look for solutions. Mindfulness meditation can help you focus your breathing and reduce pain-related anxieties. When your mind is scattered, you’ll spend more time focusing on what hurts rather than find a solution.