A pinched nerve can cause pain and restrict one’s mobility. The condition occurs when surrounding bone, muscle, cartilage or other tissue impinges on a nerve. Though pinched nerves can occur almost anywhere, the spine, and in particular pinched nerve in the lower back, or lumbar region, accounts for a significant percentage of cases. That’s because of the spine’s complex skeletal structure and the stresses placed on the lower back. This condition is referred to as a pinched lumbar nerve. Nerves of the lumbar spine extend throughout the pelvis, legs, pelvis and feet. The sciatic nerve, for example, is the longest nerve in the body, and a pinched sciatic nerve can cause a variety of pain, tingling, and other symptoms that are referred to as sciatica. Depending on the exact nerve and the extent of the pressure, a pinched nerve can cause symptoms from mild discomfort to sharp, shooting pains, tingling, weakness, loss of reflexes and motor skills, and atrophy, or withering of affected muscles.
If the pressure on the nerves is only temporary, the symptoms of pinched nerve will resolve on their own, and full functioning will return. When the condition fails to resolve without intervention, treatment options for pinched nerve therapy include rest, special exercises, manipulation to relieve pressure on the nerves, and medication to relax muscles and reduce inflammation of affected nerves. The best therapy is preventive. Pinched nerve and many other spinal problems can be avoided by maintaining good posture, remaining fit and at a reasonable weight, and avoiding unnecessarily straining the back. In cases where preventive or conventional therapies are ineffective, surgery for pinched nerve is an effective option.
Spinal decompression surgery is recommended for some patients who don’t respond to conservative treatments. Spinal decompression therapy can have a dramatic affect on relieving the symptoms of a pinched nerve in the lower back. Typically, spinal fusion back surgery is performed in conjunction with decompression surgery to stabilize the spine. Today, the TOPS™ (Total Posterior Spine) System provides an alternative to spinal fusion. Unlike spinal fusion, TOPS preserves the full range of the spine’s natural motion, and has been shown to provide better outcomes than fusion in clinical studies performed around the world. This represents a great new option for some individuals affected by pinched nerves in the lower back.