A pinched nerve in the back can occur anywhere along the spinal column, and can be caused by a variety of conditions. Some of the more common ones include a bulging disc, bone spurs, and inflamed tissue, all of which can impinge on the spinal canal and press on a nerve root or the spinal cord.
When any of these conditions put abnormal pressure on the nerve root, it cannot properly transmit electrical signals to its peripheral nerves, causing pain, tingling, and numbness in the area of the body that this nerve root leads to.
If a bulging disc, for example, puts pressure on nerve roots in the L3-L5 region (also known as the lumbar or lower back region), low back pain, loss of motor control in the leg, and possible numbness in the big toe may result because these are the areas to which nerves in the lumbar region transmit signals.
One particularly well-known nerve in the lower back is the sciatic nerve. When any part of the large sciatic nerve becomes pinched, pain travels from the lower back to the buttocks, thigh, and calf, and potentially to the toes. Pinching of the sciatic nerve, which can also cause weakness in the calf muscle, is known as sciatica.
A pinched nerve in the back or a pinched nerve in the neck can be attributed to overuse, strain, extra body weight, scar tissue formation after surgery, cysts, tumors, poor posture, or osteoarthritis, which can cause intervertabral discs to degenerate.
If you are diagnosed with a pinched nerve in the back, initial treatment may include rest, massage, hot/cold therapy, mild exercise, anti-inflammatory or prescription medications, and electrical stimulation. If this treatment is not effective, your physician may prescribe corticosteroid injections to treat a pinched nerve in the back. All of these treatments can alleviate pinched nerve symptoms, but will not eliminate their underlying causes.
Sometimes, pain from a pinched nerve can be managed by refraining from physical activity. However, if you have chronic, debilitating symptoms, your doctor may recommend traditional back surgery. If surgery is the next step, you may want to look at the minimally invasive, endoscopic procedures available at Laser Spine Institute (LSI). For more information on LSI’s treatment for a pinched nerve in the back and a free review of your MRI or CT scan, contact us today.