Q:

How do you treat a herniated disk that causes pain in the left leg?

A:

Quick Answer

A herniated disc with pain in the left leg may be treated using hot and cold therapy, certain medications, steroid injections and physical therapy, according to SpineUniverse. Although most cases resolve with conservative treatment, some cases may require surgery.

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Full Answer

When a herniated disc places pressure on the sciatic nerve, it may cause pain, tingling or burning that radiates down the leg and often affects only one side of the body, as stated by SpineUniverse. A doctor may recommend applying hot or cold packs to the affected area for no more than 15 minutes at a time to soothe pain. Patients may take anti-inflammatory medications, pain killers and muscle relaxants to relieve episodes of acute pain, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be recommended for mild to moderate pain.

If the patient is experiencing severe leg pain or weakness, an epidural steroid injection may be recommended, as confirmed by SpineUniverse. A doctor sometimes refers the patient to a physical therapist for treatments such as stretching, massage and heat therapy, which are designed to improve flexibility and relieve pain. In some cases, the doctor may recommend surgical procedures such as minimally invasive spine surgery, laminotomy or discectomy. The patient should learn the risks and side effects of each procedure before making a decision, and getting a second opinion may be wise.

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