Most of the time, back pain can be treated with pain medications, muscle relaxants, warm compresses, and stretching exercises. When a disk pushes on a nerve, causing pain, interventions to treat the bulging disk can be effective. Surgery may be helpful when pain, discomfort, and neurologic deficits are initially severe and debilitating. Surgery is also beneficial when the pain increases in severity with time. Back injections with steroids and medications that numb nerves may provide short-term pain relief when a nerve is compressed.