If you’re experiencing sharp pain, numbness, tingling in your lower back and legs, then you may be experiencing a pinched nerve. A pinched nerve occurs when pressure is put on the nerve near the last handful of vertebrae in your back, and can cause severe pain while impacting your overall quality of life if left untreated. It’s important you visit your physician to get a proper diagnosis and ensure it’s actually a pinched nerve causing the damage.
Treatment For A Pinched Nerve
In Lower Back
What’s A Pinched Nerve?
Simply put, a pinched nerve is a nerve which is compressed by surrounding tissues pushing on the roots. Often a pinched nerve within a lower back is caused by a herniated disk which is slipping in between vertebrae in your spinal cord putting pressure on the nerve.
What Causes A Pinched Nerve
In The Lower Back?
A pinched nerve in your lower back may come about from a trauma or gradually from wear and tear of day-to-day life. However, it’s known that adults (usually between 30-60 years old) are most likely to experience a pinched nerve due to the compression of your vertebrae and the degeneration of the disc due to age.
However, there are quite a few other reasons why you may be experiencing a pinched nerve which include:
As you can see, you don’t necessarily need to have trauma to get a pinched nerve, it can come about gradually.
How Do Physicians Diagnose A Pinched Nerve In Your Lower Back?
You must visit a physician to get a proper diagnosis, but when speaking with your doctor you’ll need to describe your symptoms. It’s critical to provide as many details as possible related to your pain and discomfort. Your physician will then look for immediate trauma signs in your lower back by checking your range of motion, balance, reflexes, and sensation changes in your legs and lower extremities.
However, often a physical exam won’t be enough to diagnose it alone. This is where diagnostic testing will take place. This includes:
These tests all serve as helpful guides for your physician to get a proper diagnosis.
Lower Back Pinched Nerve Treatments
Once a diagnosis is made for a pinched nerve, your physician will most likely suggest a non-surgical treatment for your pinched nerve as a first attempt relieving your symptoms. These treatment options will look like the following.
Home Based Treatments
Often your physician will request that you begin changing your lifestyle to help with the symptoms. They’ll also likely recommend treatments you can do in your home to help with pain management. These can include:
For many patients, you’ll likely be prescribed an over the counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory drug to help treat it. The goal with this is to reduce the inflammation which can relieve pressure on the nerve and greatly reduce the pain.
Sometimes a doctor may prescribe stronger medicine like steroids to help relieve the pain and reduce inflammation. These can be delivered either orally or by injection.
Sometimes a physical therapist could be used to help provide exercises and stretches to relieve pain and provide more stabilization to your spine. Some stretches they recommend can include:
This treatment option should be a last resort by your physician if no other options are providing relief. There are a variety of surgical methods to help target the root cause of the problem and produce lasting relief, however this introduces an invasive treatment option which comes with its own risks.
A pinched nerve is certainly no fun, but there are treatment options to help relieve the symptoms you may be experiencing. If you’re experiencing severe pain in your lower back, then it’s critical you go see a physician to get a proper diagnosis about your pain. This is especially true if you’ve been experiencing chronic pain.