What is a Pinched Nerve in Lower Back?

What is a Pinched Nerve in Lower Back?

The quick answer is a pinched nerve means that there is some compression on the nerve itself

A pinched nerve in its mildest form is called neurapraxia. This may be the result of repetitive motions, like extending your back multiple times in a row while gardening or holding one positioning for a long time, like when you are bending forward to fix the kitchen sink. But where are nerves, and how does this relate to your lower back pain? In the spine, some discs run between each of the vertebrae. Watch this VIDEO on why back pain can't wait.

Diagram of spinal disc and how they can suffer from herniation. Herniated discs occur in the spinal column. JOI RehabImage of Herniated Disc

These disks have a risk of “bulging” or pushing through or around the ligaments on the sides of the vertebrae and causing compression on to the nerve. This situation is typically considered a disk herniation or, more commonly called a pinched nerve in the lower back. 

What are the Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve?

When a pinched nerve or herniated disc happens, you could experience pain in the lower back, low back hip pain, or even pain that travels down the leg. This can be accompanied with limitation on movement, and an abnormal gait. 

What Happens When the Sciatic Nerve becomes Pinched?

Specifically, when there is compression or pinching on one of the sciatic nerve's nerve roots, this is considered sciatica. Sciatica is a common diagnosis for those with lower back pain. It is more of a symptom than a condition, as it is referring to lower back and low back hip pain that travels into the buttocks and down the leg.

Diagram of spinal disc and how they can suffer from herniation and cause a pinched nerve. Pinched Nerves occur in the spinal column. JOI Rehabherniated disc causes sciatica pain down the leg

What does a Pinched Nerve in Lower Back Feel Like?

A herniated disk or pinched nerve is commonly described by a patient who has pain that is deep and sharp in nature. They report that the pain gets worse as it moves down the leg. A person with a herniated disk may or may not have lower back pain, specifically, but will most likely have limitations in range of motion and painful gait with walking. 

Watch this video where lower back pain begins.

X-ray image of a man showing radiating lower back pain. JOI RehabRadiating Lower Back Pain

Do Pinched Nerves Go Away on Their Own? How Long Does it Take?

Most of the time, Lower Back Pain or a "Pinched Nerve" in the lower back resolves in 6 to 10 weeks.  The inflammation which causes the pain typically calms in that time.  In some cases, the pain may last longer and may have more severe symptoms, such as loss of sensation or strength in the part of the leg.  

How do I get Rid of a Pinched Nerve in my Lower Back?

When this happens, most people ask what to do for a pinched nerve in the lower back or fix a pinched nerve in the lower back. The quick answer for what to do for a pinched nerve in the back or how to fix a pinched nerve in the lower back, for most, is activity modification. This is the same for nerve pain in the back and hip.  Gentle movements and good body mechanics may decrease pressure on nerve structures and provide are a back pain remedy.

The knee to chest stretch can loosen up an individuals spinal column and release pressure from a pinched nerve. JOI RehabPhysical therapy for a pinched nerve in the low back

Patients with lower back pain resulting from a pinched nerve or herniated disk are encouraged to keep moving, consider anti-inflammatories and seek physical therapy for appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises.

Physical Therapy for Pinched Nerve in Lower Back

Physical therapy activities are focused on flexibility and core stabilization. The flexibility of the hamstrings, hip flexors, and piriformis is important to decrease the spine's stress. Care must be taken when stretching with a pinched nerve so that there is no incidental Sciatic Nerve Stretch, which may increase pain.  Core stabilization activities are equally as important to aid in reducing shearing forces on the spine.  Stabilization exercises are some of the best exercises to help relieve the pinched nerve in your lower back. If you need physical therapy, JOI Rehab can help!

If conservative options do not help, injections of corticosteroids may help to decrease the pain.  Surgery is an option for severe situations if non-surgical options do not work.

Related Articles:

Book an Appointment with The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute Today!

JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is another option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments with less phone hold times. Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.

You can still call 904-JOI-2000 to make new patient JOI Physician Appointments if that is your preference.

To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

By: Ehren Allen, DPT

Skip to content