A pinched nerve in your back happens when a significant amount of strain is put on a specific nerve by neighboring tissue. This strain prevents the nerve from functioning optimally, which in turn causes aches, stinging or lack of sensations and overall discomfort.
The most common type of pinched nerve in the back occurs as a herniated disk in the lower spine. These nerve roots are very sensitive. When too much stress is applied, it causes a painful sensation that moves down your sciatic nerve. In most cases, people recover from a pinched nerve in back within a couple days. However, in some cases surgery may be needed to alleviate on-going pain. This is why it is important you pay attention to the pinched nerved in your back to make sure that the pain does not worsen. If the pain worsens, or the pinched nerve in your back does not go away after several weeks, consult with a physician.
- Blunt or stinging feeling that moves toward the outside of the source of pain
- Prickly feeling in your lower back (paresthesia)
- Numbness or reduced feeling in the back where the nerve is being pinched
- Reoccurring feeling that your leg or foot “is asleep”
- Weakness or spasms in the lower portion of the back
Lie down on your bed or couch. Place one or two pillows under your knees. This should take some of the pressure off the disk which is pinching the nerve in your back. Place a cold or hot pack on your back and upper legs. Take an aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve some of the pain. Make sure you limit the amount of time you get up to move around. Avoid any lifting, bending or excessive movement as this may aggravate the pain. Avoid food that promotes constipation as this strain irritates the pinched nerve in your back. Consult your doctor if the pain does not go away or worsens with personal care.
What causes back pain?
Keep in mind that a pinched nerve in your back may also be a result of a herniated or bulging disc in your spinal cord. Sometimes a person may have a predisposition to these types of issues due to their physical makeup.
When should I call my doctor?
It is important to have your physician review your medical history to either rule out or identify conditions that may also be related to the pain. After reviewing your medical history, request a physical examination from your doctor. During your physical examination, your doctor may look at muscle strength and nerve functions in certain parts of your back. These tests will allow your doctor to identify what particular areas of your body is experiencing pain. Once this has been done, your doctor may request that certain diagnostic tests are completed. This includes a discogram, a CT scan and an MRI scan. Keep in mind that diagnostic tests are not intended to diagnose a condition.
How can I treat my back pain?
There are also some basic tips that involve checking to see if your posture is causing your back pain. Posture is crucial as it affects major areas of the body and can be directly related to pain, including a pinched nerve in your back. If you work in a setting where you are sitting down most of the day, consider an ergonomic office chair. These types of chairs will allow for good lumbar support and can be adjusted to your particular height. If for some reason, you can’t get a better chair, consider purchasing a lumbar cushion insert. These types of supports are reasonable in price and will give your back the support it needs. You can also consider purchasing a new or different type of mattress. Because we spend a good portion of time sleeping, it is important that we have a mattress that supports our body as well as our muscles and joints.
Some people find relief in the use of topical cream medications that you apply directly to the affected area. In most cases, the active ingredient in these medications is menthol which blocks pain receptors and while relieving soreness in joints and muscles. Just remember, when you are addressing a pinched nerve in your back, it is very important to look into forms of relief than jumping to drastic measures.