This is usually how it goes: the back pain comes and goes but then comes the nerve pain. As I said before, I have two herniated discs and my back feels fine, but my nerve pain is taking a damn long time to resolve and it has been one year so far. Thankfully, the pain has lessened over time considering the pain in my left glute all the way to the foot was awful last fall and winter.
My pain did not interfere with my sleep per se, as I could fall asleep without a problem but when I woke up sometimes, the pain would make my mind race and then I would be up for some time. Sitting made the matter worse, but now I can sit with no symptoms at all.
As I asked before, do you have pain without dysfunction, or do you have weakness and dysfunction.
Me, I have pain but I can perform just fine. Running, jumping rope, deadlifting, squatting, playing a game, I can do whatever I like but I have some pain.
But I did not immediately jump into my normal activities. Regarding exercise, you really should see a physiatrist or orthopedist to determine what should be done and definitely get prescriptions for physical therapy appointments. And I suggest you do as I did in going to a physical therapist that will take from non-compressive and non-rotative exercises all the way back to your normal activities in the right steps and time frame. Just don’t go to some physical therapist that will give you some foam rolling and band exercises and massage or ultrasound and send you on your way. Luckily my physical therapist is a former athlete and bodybuilder and took me from non-compressive, band and bodyweight exercises, to weighted non-compressive exercises all the way to trap bar deadlifts, front and goblet squats, lunges, weighted carries, and so on.
I do foam rolling and stretches nearly everyday.
You should also avoid heavy hip hinge exercises like barbell deadlifts, bent over rows and hypextensions for the time being.
I take neurontin/gabapentin for nerve pain and I’ve received epidural shots from my physiatrist, which I will likely receive again. I highly doubt OTC meds will do a damn thing.
Get to a physiatrist or orthopedist… like NOW.
I’d like to add, that although I am none of the above professionals, but both have informed me that herniations and their symptoms can take a damn long time to resolve. And when I say long time, I mean it can take months or YEARS! Some heal quite fast, but others take longer. And for those with unbearable pain or dysfunction that is interfering with their lives, surgery is an option.
I am NOT a professional dealing with these matters, just someone who has dealt with this issue for some time.