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Pinched Nerve in Lower Back

Nicks J May 6, 2019
Pinched nerve in lower back normally occurs when a person suffers from herniated disc and spinal stenosis. Read on to know about various treatment options for this nerve condition.
It is normal to experience localized lower back pain for a short while during day time. Lower back pain that does not remain restricted and moves down to the lower part of the body is an indication of pinched nerve condition.
Also referred to as an impinged or compressed nerve, the condition occurs as a consequence of too much pressure being put on the nerves from the surrounding tissues that include muscle and bones.

Symptoms

In most cases, the pain due to impinged nerve does not remain localized. It originates in the lower back area and moves all the way down to any of the legs. The pain that is similar to tingling sensation may also radiate in the upper back area.
As nerves carry brain signals and supply sensation, the excessive pressure on the nerve may also cause localized numbness in the affected area.

Causes

There are quite a few lower back problems that could cause pinching of the nerve, some of which are given below:

Spinal Stenosis

The spine that resembles a stack of bones, runs from the base of the skull all the way down to the tail bone. However, it is a hollow bony structure through which the spinal cord (bundle of nerves) passes. It is also observed that there is a consistent gap between the spinal cord and the bones of the spine. 
It is known as the spinal canal and when this space narrows at some points in the spine, one or more bones of the spine touch the nerve and put excessive pressure on it, eventually causing pain.

Herniated Disc

As aforementioned, the spine is a bony structure in which the bones are stacked one above the other. A closer examination of the spine reveals that a thick fibrous circular tissue (disc) is placed in between the two bones. The disc is made up of two layers, the outer one is called the annulus and the inner layer is called the nucleus.
A person is said to suffer from herniated disc when the small part of nucleus of the disc, exerts pressure, causing rupture of the annulus (outermost layer of the disc). As a result, the nucleus of the disc enters into the spinal canal and comes in contact with the nerve. Thus the nerve is subjected to undue pressure, leading to constriction and pain.

Treatment

A massage to the affected area is one of the best home remedies to reduce the pain. Other treatment options are given below:

Pain Relievers

Managing pain with OTC pain relievers is an inexpensive way to reduce the symptoms. Painkillers like aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen are commonly used to alleviate the pain. However, one needs to contact a doctor to know the exact dosage of medicines. Overdose increases the risk of suffering from side effects like liver problems.

Cold Packs

Wrapping ice cubes in a thin cloth or a towel and then applying it on the painful site for 10-15 minutes, is an age-old remedy to relieve pain associated with pinched or inflamed nerve.

Heat Therapy

Applying heating pads or moist heat in the form of a hot shower bath can also provide substantial relief from constricted nerve condition. Heat therapy will reduce the intensity of the pain, thus allowing the person to continue with his daily routine. Basically, heat stimulates blood circulation in the affected area, which contributes in reducing the pain.

Surgery

Cutting the part of disc that is protruding and pinching the nerve is the last resort to treat this condition. For people suffering from spinal stenosis, the surgeon cuts off a part of the bones that have come very near to the spinal cord.
This helps to increase the space between the spinal cord and the vertebral column (spine), thus completely removing the pressure from the nerves.
Exercises can also help to speed up healing of conditions associated with pinched nerve. The tightened or stiff muscles in the lower back region can put pressure on the nerves that are passing through it. As muscles contain nerve fibers, exercises that elongate and improve the flexibility of muscles would benefit to reduce exerted pressure on the nerve. 
Exercises such as sit-ups, hamstring stretch, back flexion stretch and those performed using the exercise ball can work wonders to loosen up the tight muscles, thereby reducing the pain.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.