Is My Back Pain Caused by a Pinched Nerve?
With almost 65 million Americans reporting back pain to their doctors, it is no wonder why Americans have a drug problem. According to Georgetown University, about 16 million adults experience back pain from chronic to mild pain. People miss more work, have lower self-esteem, and psychological distress. Back pain can have many causes with the second most common cause being pinched nerves or compressed nerves.
What is a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve or a compressed nerve happens when pressure is applied to a nerve by the surrounding bones, cartilage, muscles, or tendons, disrupting the nerve function.
Pinched nerves often cause Sciatica. Symptoms or feeling of:
- weakness in your lower back, hips, buttocks, legs, ankles, or feet.
Often it will feel as though pain is transmitting its way down the leg from the hips, buttocks, etc.
What Causes Pinched Nerves?
Some of the most common causes of a pinched nerve are herniated discs, trauma or injury, rheumatoid arthritis, or degenerative disc disease. Herniated discs occur when part of the disc between the spinal columns starts to bulge out and put pressure on the nerves around it. Rheumatoid arthritis causes joints to become inflamed and swell, with the possibility of the swelling putting pressure on a nerve. Degenerative disc disease is when your discs start to break down. It isn’t necessarily a disease and is most commonly occurring in older people, but some people’s discs break down quicker than others.
Heating and icing the area affected for twenty minutes is a good way to stop any pain or tingling. Getting a massage, doing a range of motion exercises, or taking a light walk should help with loosening up the area where the pinched nerve is. Of course, you could also take any over the counter anti-inflammatories, like Aleve or Advil.
Back Pain Affects All Ages
My niece was found to have degenerative disc disease and a herniated disc in the lower back unusually early in life. She is 17 years old. Since then she has dealt with the pain of pinched nerves. The pain isn’t constant, usually, it starts to hurt around the end of the day or will flare up from sitting too long. To combat the pain, she will usually get up and walk until it stops hurting and then continues on with the day. Sometimes that doesn’t work. Icing it and laying on the stomach can get rid of the pain almost every time. Usually the last action to relieve pain would be anti-inflammatories.