Slipped Disk Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on January 26, 2022

Call 911 if the person has a slipped disk and:

  • Loses bladder or bowel control
  • Has weakness in the arms or legs
  • Has numbness in the inner, upper part of the thighs

1. Treat Pain

  • Changing positions or shifting posture may reduce immediate discomfort. For example, laying on the back, with feet on a chair and knees at a 90-degree angle, can sometimes be quite comfortable for back problems.
  • Apply a cold compress several times a day for no more than 20 minutes at a time.
  • Give nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (such as Motrin, Aleve, Advil or Naprosyn).

2. Have the Person Rest

  • Bed rest for a day or two may help, but no longer than that; it is important to become active again sooner rather than later.
  • The person should avoid activities such as lifting or pushing.

3. See a Health Care Provider

  • All slipped disks should be evaluated.

4. Follow Up

  • The health care provider may recommend muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory medications, injections of pain reliever, acupuncture, or physical therapy.
  • Most people feel better within six weeks.

Show Sources


American Academy of Family Physicians: “Herniated Disk: What It Is and What You Can Do.”

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Herniated Disk.”

Johns Hopkins Health Alerts: "Herniated Disk."

Cleveland Clinic: "Herniated Disc."

Rosen, J. Essentials of Emergency Medicine, Mosby-Year Book, 1991.

Slipped Disk Information from eMedicineHealth.

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