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Why Does My Herniated Disk Pain Come & Go?

The short answer from a spine specialist

Woman suffering from back pain while gardening

A: Sometimes the pain from my herniated disk is very severe, while other times it’s not. Why does the pain vary?

Herniated disk pain can sometimes be intermittent. People can have minor pain that’s always there or stronger pain that comes and goes depending on the activity they’re doing.


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Varying pain typically has to do with movement and the position of the body.

Usually we find that in certain situations – like when people walk upstairs or if they bend down to pick something up – that the movement stretches the body and the nerve that’s causing the pain.

Often times the pain doesn’t wax and wane too much until the disk starts to get better. So the silver lining with varying pain could mean that you’re on the pathway to healing.

The bottom line? Be mindful of your movement as your herniated disk is healing. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about when you notice your pain getting worse and try to pinpoint the activities that might be causing it.

Spine surgeon, Dominic Pelle, MD.

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