Many people suffer lower back pain for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is a pinched nerve, which can become so painful that everyday tasks are impossible to perform. Pain from a pinched nerve can be managed, if treated right away. In order to find to the best lower back pain treatment plan, you will need to have an understanding about the cause of your pinched nerve.
Before you can treat a pinched nerve in the lower back region, you should understand exactly what a pinched nerve is. A pinched nerve occurs when excessive pressure is applied to the spinal column. A herniated disc in the lumbar region (lower back) can put pressure on the nerve root, which causes pain to radiate from your lower back and down your leg, also known as sciatica.
A pinched nerve may occur due to injury, muscle strain or trauma.
Do You Have A Pinched Nerve?
So how do you know if your back pain is regular, annoying back pain or something more sinister like a pinched nerve? The most common words used to describe a pinched nerve in the lower back are “throbbing” or “shooting” pain. Usually the pain is localized in the lower back but feels as though it is radiating downward. If your pinched nerve is affecting the sciatic nerve, this pain will almost certainly be radiating down the leg, which is the path the sciatic nerve follows.
Inflammation is yet another symptom of a pinched nerve in the lower back. Inflammation can sometimes present as a tingling sensation due to the fact that blood flow is limited. This of course can be due to other back problems, but should be a sign to you that a trip to the doctor is warranted.
There are several treatments available to help you relieve the pain associated with a pinched nerve in the lower back. Some treatments target the individual symptoms while others aim to simply relieve the pressure and pain to the nerve.
The first priority of most is to seek immediate pain relief, which usually means over the counter or prescription pain medication. Your physician may recommend topical pain medication rather than oral so the affected area is targeted. You may also be given muscle relaxers to force your muscles to loosen up and relieve the pain. Most physicians administer these types of drugs sparingly because they can become habit-forming.
Anti-inflammatory medications are almost always prescribed to treat a pinched nerve in the lower back. Reducing that inflammation is a top priority because once the swelling goes down the blood will circulate better and provide some relief as well.
Heat therapy can be effective regardless of your pain level. By applying heat directly to the affected area using a heating pad or hot water bottle, you can help soothe the muscles so they relax on their own. Heat therapy is only effective if you can lie down for 15 to 20 minutes at a time and actually allow your lower back muscles to relax.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy or massage to both relax and strengthen the muscles in the lower back. Physical therapy and a few sessions with a chiropractor can correct a misaligned disc, but it can also help improve posture, which is a leading cause of back pain. Physical therapy, massage or chiropractic sessions are not quick fixes; they require multiple sessions per week and sessions may last for months before lasting relief is acquired. It is lengthy, but highly effective to relieve back pain due to a pinched nerve.
Lifestyle changes are a necessary element to relieving lower back pain, because a pinched nerve can occur for a variety of reasons. Do you sit all day with minimal breaks? Do you stand in one position all day with little variation? Do you perform repetitive motions throughout the day? Any of these can lead to a pinched nerve, which is why it is so important that you take a 5 to 10 minute break every hour and stretch your muscles and get the blood flowing through your muscles again.
Maintaining a regular schedule of stretching is an excellent way to relieve pain from a pinched nerve because it will stretch, relax and strengthen the muscles. Make use of a medicine ball or a pool to stretch lower back muscles to avoid further injury.
A pinched nerve is not a permanent problem and it doesn’t have to be with a little bit of research and the right combination of therapy.