As we all know, a pinched nerve can be painful and debilitating.
But what exactly is a pinched nerve, and how do you know if your nerve is compressed?
Read on to determine if you suffer from a pinched nerve in the lower back and what you can do to help it.
Table of Contents:
- What is a pinched nerve?
- Symptoms of a pinched nerve
- Spinal Decompression
What is a pinched nerve?
Your spine is made of bones called vertebrae, and your spinal cord runs through the center of these bones.
The body (and the spine) contains many nerves that carry important signals to the brain.
Nerve roots split from the cord and travel between the vertebrae into various areas of your body. When a nerve root becomes pinched or damaged, the resulting symptoms are called radiculopathy, which can cause pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling.
You may have also heard the term ‘sciatica.’ It is a specific form of a pinched nerve that’s directly applying compression on the sciatic nerve, which is located deep in the buttock.
Pinched nerves can occur suddenly, gradually, or due to injury.
Not only can it cause pain in your lower back, but it can also affect other parts of your body, such as:
Symptoms of a pinched nerve
A pinched nerve in the lower back presents itself through a multitude of symptoms, including:
- Muscle spasms
- Loss of reflex
- Sharp burning sensation in the lower back or buttocks
- Leg pain that shoots down one leg
- Numbness & tingling
Generally, nerve pain will feel different than other types of back pain. The sharp, burning, or tingling pain often means nerve pain, while muscular pain typically causes muscles and joints to feel sore, stiff, or tender.
A positive sign that you do not have a pinched nerve is if your lower back pain doesn’t affect your legs or feet and does not involve tingling or burning sensations.
Starting around the age of 30, the cushioning between your spine decreases and can leak fluid, leading to an inflamed nerve root and vertebrae degeneration.
A compressed nerve can show up out of nowhere or can be caused by a traumatic injury.
It can be from doing something mundane, like repeatedly overextending your back while cleaning or holding one positioning for a long time, like when driving.
Causes of a pinched nerve in the lower back include:
- Herniated disc- occurs when the disks between vertebrae become compressed
- Trauma or injury- such as from a fall which puts pressure on the nerves
- Spinal stenosis- the narrowing of the spinal column
- Bone spur formation- also known as osteophytes
- Spondylolisthesis- occurs when a vertebra slips out of place
- Vertebrae degeneration- the gradual loss of typical structure and function of the spine over time.
- Rheumatoid arthritis- a chronic inflammatory disorder affecting many joints
- Infection- in the spinal disks, joints, or bones
- Osteoporosis- which can cause painful fractures
- Radiculopathy- pinching of a nerve root in the spinal column
Certain risk factors make it more likely that someone will develop nerve pain or a compressed nerve. Some of these risk factors can be avoided or lessened. These factors include:
- Aging – Can weaken the muscles around the spine and cause spinal stenosis
- Obesity – puts additional pressure on the spine
- Bad posture – Increases the chance of nerve becoming compressed
- Lack of physical activity – Makes it easier to develop age-related conditions, like a pinched nerve
A pinched nerve can resolve itself in days or take up to six to ten weeks. The inflammation causes pain in your lower back and nerves and will generally calm down in that window.
More often than not, you can treat a pinched nerve with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and lifestyle changes.
Unfortunately, pinched nerve pain may be too severe or last longer than what is standard in some cases. If this is the case, it is recommended that you see a licensed medical professional for further testing.
Your doctor may prescribe:
- Physical therapy: Your physical therapist will provide you with instructions for stretches and exercises that will help stabilize your spine.
- Oral or injected corticosteroids: Used if NSAIDs and other treatments are ineffective.
- Muscle relaxants: For severe pain.
- Spinal injections: To relieve pain, swelling, and other symptoms in the affected area.
- Spinal Decompression: works by gently stretching the spine and changes the force and position of the spine.
- And in the worst-case scenario- surgery: There are many surgical methods. Your doctor will recommend a procedure that targets the cause of the condition.
To speed up recovery at home, try:
- Resting to avoid strenuous activities until your symptoms have lessened
- NSAIDs or other OTC pain medication to reduce swelling
- Hot or cold packs for twenty minutes a few times a day to help ease pain
- Sleeping position modifications to alleviate pain
Spinal Decompression: Back pain relief at its best
If you suffer from severe lower back pain and have tried several therapies with little to no results, spinal decompression could be the answer for you!
Spinal decompression is a motorized system that gently stretches the spine to help alleviate severe lower back and nerve pain.
It is painless, effective, and safe.
Decompressing the spine takes some of the pressure off of your nerves. It also creates a “vacuum-like” effect in the discs to promote water, oxygen, and nutrients to absorb into the discs to help heal them.
Benefits of spinal decompression for your lower back:
Decreased pain intensity: Many patients notice a dramatic decrease in their pain levels after undergoing spinal decompression.
Decreased nerve pain: Spinal decompression helps to space out your vertebrae, creating a negative pressure in the disc and alleviating pressure off the nerves exiting the spine. This helps to reduce nerve pain which can cause numbness and tingling.
Decreased muscle tension: Decompression treats your area of concern and helps promote motion in your joints, allowing your muscles to relax, resulting in finally feeling relief.
Increased mobility: As your nerve pain decreases and your muscles get looser, you will notice that you will now be able to move more freely and without pain.
At Runway Health, we are determined to provide you with the best service possible at a reasonable price.
We offer an Intro Decompression Special, which is 40% OFF your first examination and treatment. That’s only $59 for your intro visit!
Call or text (905) 209 – 2777 to book your introductory spinal decompression appointment today!