Things You Should Know about a Pinched Nerve in the Lower Back
A pinched nerve in your lower back is a condition in which the nerves near the last five vertebrae in your back are under too much pressure. This can cause pain and may make it hard to do everyday activities.
This means that if you have been experiencing lower back pain and have not found relief through resting, you should see a doctor to find out the cause of the pain.
What Are the Possible Causes of a Pinched Nerve in the Back?
A pinched nerve is when a nerve in your body becomes compressed or irritated. This can happen due to a traumatic injury, age-related degeneration of the discs in your vertebrae, or for no apparent reason. Symptoms of a pinched nerve include pain, numbness, and a tingling sensation.
A herniated disc can also occur when the outer layer of the disc tears, allowing the inner layer to bulge out. This can put pressure on the spinal nerves, which may also result in weak legs or arms.
How Is It Diagnosed?
After hearing about your symptoms, your doctor will likely want to do a physical examination. This will help them rule out any other potential causes of your pain and discomfort. In some cases, your doctor may also order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to get a closer look at your bones and joints.
They may also look out for the following indicators:
- Balance problems
- Changes in sensation in the lower extremities
- Changes to reflexes in your legs
- Limited range of motion
- Weakness in the muscles
They may ask you how long you’ve been experiencing symptoms and if you have any other health conditions. Your doctor may also want to know if you’ve been doing anything that could have caused the pinched nerve, such as lifting something heavy.
What Are Its Baseline Treatments?
If you have a pinched nerve, your doctor will likely recommend nonsurgical treatments first. These may include rest, ice or heat, and exercises. Usually, these are sufficient to relieve your symptoms.
However, remember that if you are starting a new medication for your anxiety, you may not see results immediately. It is important to be patient and give the medication time to work. If you do not see any improvement after a few weeks, talk to your doctor about other options.
If your doctor approves, you may first try treating a pinched nerve with over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs can reduce inflammation and pain.
If anti-inflammatory medications and other treatments don’t work to improve your condition, your doctor may prescribe oral steroids.
If you have a pinched nerve, working with a physical therapist can help alleviate your symptoms. Your therapist will give you specific exercises and stretches to help stabilize your spine and take pressure off the affected area.
If you’re dealing with a pinched nerve in your lower back, your doctor may suggest some lifestyle changes to help ease the symptoms. These may include:
- Avoiding activities that aggravate the nerve, such as standing for long periods of time or lifting heavy objects
- Taking over-the-counter pain medication to help relieve pain and inflammation
- Applying heat or ice to the affected area to help reduce pain and inflammation
- Doing stretches and exercises that help stretch and strengthen the muscles around the nerve
A pinched nerve in the lower back can be a very painful and debilitating condition. Treatment options for a pinched nerve may include physical therapy, medications, or even surgery in some cases. If you think you may have a pinched nerve, it is important to see a doctor or spine specialist for an accurate diagnosis.
If you want to learn about exercises for lower back pain, look no further than our valuable tips here at Rhythmic Health. Our mission is to help people solve their health challenges and then lead ever more fulfilling lives. Check out our blog for more of our health and wellness tips against back pain.