NSAIDs are routinely prescribed to treat symptoms of a herniated disc (Mayfield Clinic):
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, naproxen (Alleve, Naprosyn), ibuprofen (Motrin, Nuprin, Advil), and celecoxib (Celebrex), are used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
However, the process of natural healing (resorption) of a herniated disc is thought to be facilitated by the immune system in response to inflammation (Pubmed):
It is generally thought that an immune response develops to the disc tissue and inflammation helps to remove the invading tissue. Evidence suggests macrophages and neovascularisation play central roles in the resorption of discs following prolapse. Macrophages which infiltrate the herniated disc express high levels of matrix metalloproteinases, and these have an important role in the natural resorption process. The new blood vessels have an important role as a passage into the degenerate matrix.
NSAIDs are known to suppress the immune system (Pubmed):
In conclusion, we report that a panel of widely used NSAIDs blunts antibody synthesis in human PBMCs and in purified B cells. Ibuprofen’s ability to reduce antibody production was concentration- and time-dependent and likely occurred via Cox-2 inhibition. Our results call for awareness regarding the consequences that NSAIDs can have on immunity.
So, do NSAIDs hamper the disc resorption process?