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Trapped Nerve in Back

Nicks J Apr 19, 2019
Trapped nerve in back occurs when the nerve falls under the burden of excessive pressure. This compression of the nerve is often the result of lower back problems like bulging disc or herniated disc.
Trapped nerve is a term used to describe the compression of a nerve. Excessive pressure on any nerve squeezes it. Also referred to as pinched nerve, it can cause radiating pain. Nerves act as carriers of brain signals. So when the nerve gets compressed, discomfort in the form of burning sensation, similar to pricking of pins and needles is experienced.

Sciatic Nerve

The sciatic nerve that originates from the lower back is the longest nerve in the human system. To be more specific, it starts from the place where the spinal cord terminates, just above the buttocks area.
The nerve runs through the hip area along the buttocks and then branches down behind both the legs, and then it ends its journey at the feet. It is observed that nerve roots of the sciatic nerve are attached to the spinal cord.

Symptoms

Entrapment of the sciatic nerve causes lower back pain that generally moves down the legs. Depending upon the amount of pressure being put on the sciatic nerve roots, the severity of pain will vary from mild discomfort to agonizing pain.
The discomfort experienced either occurs at intermittent periods or remains constant throughout the day. Sneezing or coughing in this condition may aggravate the pain.

Causes

Bulging Disc

As we all know, the spine that supports the back is composed of bones. The spine covers the spinal cord, a bunch of nerves originating from the base of the brain. To prevent friction between bones, there lies a circular flexible tissue like structure, referred to as disc. Over time, these 'discs' deteriorate and become weak.
Gradually, these 'discs' slip from their original position and are seen protruding outwards. In case, the location of displaced disc is at the hip region, it can compress the nerve roots of the sciatic nerve and cause pain. People suffering from herniated disc or slipped disc may also experience sciatic nerve pain.

Pregnancy

Women are more susceptible to sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy. This is because as the pregnancy progresses, the uterus (womb) begins to increase in size. The growing uterus, is likely to put pressure on the sciatic nerve, passing under it, eventually causing pain.
Sciatica in pregnant women is often treated with application of heating pads or by changing the sleeping position, so as to relieve the pain.

Treatment

Ice Therapy

Application of ice packs on the lower back, is an age-old therapy to subside the inflammation. The trapped nerve causes swelling in the surrounding area and an effective way to combat it would be to apply ice pack for around 15-20 minutes. This procedure should be repeated 3-4 times daily to get maximum comfort.

Heat Therapy

One can also use a heating pad on the affected part of the body for 10-15 minutes, daily to improve sciatic pain.

Medications

Doctors often prescribe non steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen to sciatica sufferers. Use of muscle relaxants along with pain relievers may also help to reduce the pain considerably.

Exercises

To remain completely inactive is not recommended as it can aggravate the pain. The doctor may prescribe few stretching exercises that may help to strengthen the muscles of the lower back and the abdomen. These exercises will help to reduce the pain considerably.
In case the given treatment options do not help to improve the symptoms of trapped nerve in back, surgery may be required to restore normal position of the displaced disc. This form of treatment is the last resort to alleviate pain associated with pinched nerves.
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.