Lower back pain can make it difficult to go about your daily life, perform tasks at work, and play sports. You won’t be able to lift weights or perform high-intensity activities comfortably, and the aching may spread. Lower back pain may result from a fall or accident. It can also appear out of the blue with no discernable cause. It’s crucial to know what’s causing the aching, so you can get the appropriate treatment. Fortunately, an orthopedic doctor or a physical therapist can help find the root cause.
One of the most common causes for lower back pain is a pinched nerve. So, how do you figure out if this is the root cause of your lower back pain? Here are the signs to look out for:
Sharp Pain In The Lower Back
The following conditions may cause a pinched nerve:
- Herniated disc — the spillage of the soft substance from inside the rubbery cushions in between vertebrae, or individual spinal bones
- Osteoporosis — the weakening of bones caused by decreasing levels of bone density
- Spondylolisthesis — when one of the individual bones of the spine slips out of place
- Spinal stenosis — when the spinal canal that houses the spinal cord narrows
These conditions can cause sharp pain in your lumbar spine — the lower back area. When a vertebra, cartilage, inflammation, infection, or another type of injury puts pressure on nerves, you may experience pinching.
Back pain is a common problem, but it usually goes away after a few days. However, the pain from a pinched nerve may last for weeks. This sharp and stabbing pain may come and go and may even affect the areas surrounding the lower back. More severe cases may prevent walking.
Pain That Extends To The Lower Extremities
Your lower back pain may also extend to the lower extremities if a pinched nerve causes it. You might have sciatica if the ache affects your lower back, hips, buttocks, and legs. Sciatica is the pinching of the sciatic nerve, which spans the end of the spinal cord to the knees.
Aside from pain, you may also feel discomfort, especially at the back of the affected thigh and leg. If your sciatica is severe, the symptoms may extend to the foot and ankle.
Numbness, Tingling, And Weakness
When a nerve experiences too much pressure from a displaced vertebra or cartilage, you may experience numbness, tingling, and weakness. This tingling sensation is commonly known as “pins and needles.” Because of these symptoms, you may find it difficult to walk. You may also find yourself unable to do high-intensity activities, like lifting weights.
Muscle spasms can also spell the difference between lower back pain caused by a pinched nerve from those that aren’t. Spasms are painful, involuntary, and sudden episodes of muscle twitching. This symptom may last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and may occur multiple times a day.
Loss Of Reflexes And Sensation
Your nerves are responsible for your reflexes and sensations, because they send signals from your brain to the rest of your body. Your nerves won’t be able to do this if they’re pinched. If you experience lower back pain and a loss of reflexes and sensation, you may have a severe case of pinched nerves. When this happens, consult with your provider immediately.
Loss Of Control Of Bodily Functions
More severe cases of pinched nerves may also cause you to lose control of your bodily functions. It may result in the inability to manage your bladder and bowel movements. This symptom can drastically disrupt your daily life. If you find yourself unable to control these functions, you should contact your provider immediately.
There are many treatment options available for people who suffer from pinched nerves. One option is physical therapy, a non-invasive treatment option involving exercises, stretching, and massage. Your therapist may also use other modalities like electrical stimulation or temperature therapy to help you. If needed, they may recommend other forms of treatment to help ease your pinched nerve.
Treatment For Lower Back Pain In Austin, TX
Lower back pain can disrupt your everyday life, work, and hobbies, because you won’t be able to move comfortably. The pain from a pinched nerve is typically sharp and can radiate to your lower extremities depending on the affected nerve. You may also experience numbness, tingling, weakness, muscle spasms, and loss of reflex. It’s crucial to find out what’s causing your pain, so you can get the proper treatment for your condition.
If you’re looking for treatment for lower back pain in Austin, TX, look no further than Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness. We have a team of highly-trained and experienced therapists who can give you the comprehensive care you deserve. If you want to know more about our services, contact our friendly staff at (512) 213-1092. If you want to book a consultation, you may use our secure online appointment request form.
We also have 11 other convenient locations in Austin, Bee Cave, Cedar Park, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Manor, Hutto, and San Marcos. We look forward to serving you!