Open Your Mind

Common Conditions

Trapped Nerve (Back)

25/09/2020

A pinched nerve in the lower back or lumbar radiculopathy can be painful and debilitating. This condition occurs when something puts pressure on the nerves near the last five vertebrae (L1-L5)  in the back.

This condition may appear out of nowhere or it could be the cause of a traumatic injury. A common cause of a pinched nerve in the lower back is a herniated disc. Due to ageing, this condition results in a defect in the vertebrae or wear and tear. The cushioning between your spine lessens as you age and can leak, leading to nerve pain. Bone spurs and other degenerative conditions can occur as you age as well, leading to a pinched nerve.

Some causes of a pinched nerve in the lower back include herniated disc, bulging disc, trauma, injury, Spinal Stenosis, mechanical stretching, bone spur formation (Osteophytes), Spondylolisthesis, Foraminal Stenosis, degeneration and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Sciatica, which includes pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness that occurs in the lower back, hips, buttocks, legs, ankles and feet, is one of the symptoms experienced with a pinched nerve in the lower back. Sharp pain, weakness, muscle spasms and reflex loss are other symptoms as well. Symptoms are likely to be experienced between ages 30 and 50. This is because the vertebrae compress with age and the discs in the vertebrae degenerate over time.

People with lower back pain resulting from a pinched nerve or herniated disk are encouraged to keep moving, consider anti-inflammatories and seek physical therapy for appropriate manual therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises. Physical therapy will be focused on flexibility and core stabilization. The flexibility of the hamstrings, hip flexors and piriformis are important to decrease the stress on the spine. Care must be taken when stretching with a pinched nerve so that there is not an incidental sciatic nerve stretch which may increase pain. Core stabilization activities are equally as important to aid in reducing shearing forces on the spine and relieving a pinched nerve in the lower back. If conservative options does not help, injections of corticosteroids or surgery may help to decrease the pain. If in doubt, seek professional advice.