Nerves can become trapped or pinched at different places within your body. Trapping a nerve in your lower back can cause referred pain into your buttock and leg and can cause weakness. The most common type of trapped nerves is then nerves in your lower back.
A commonly trapped nerve in the lumbar spine is the sciatic nerve and the name given for this particular nerve being trapped is called sciatica, this nerve is trapped at the spinal level L4-L5.
What are trapped nerves?
Your spine is made up of different structures including bones, discs, muscles, tendons and ligaments. If any structure within your spine becomes irritated or inflamed they can increase in size and trap a nerve. The trapped nerve will cause symptoms including pain and pins and needles.
What causes a nerve to become trapped?
If a structure within your lower back becomes inflamed or irritated it may cause a trapped nerve. The nerve itself may become irritated or inflamed and may press onto another structure in the spine which will produce the same trapped nerve symptoms.
A significantly trapped nerve will affect the function of your nerve and can result in:
- Altered sensation
- Nerve pain
- Muscle weakness
- Diminished or altered reflexes
- Loss of bladder/bowel function
Any of the symptoms above require immediate medical attention.
What are the symptoms of a trapped nerve?
Trapped nerve symptoms include pain that may be local to the area the nerve is trapped in your lower back though the pain often radiates into your buttocks or leg- the name given for this is referred pain.
How is a trapped nerve diagnosed?
Your physiotherapist can carry out a full examination and perform special neurological tests to determine if a trapped nerve is causing your problem or if it is related to something else. Scans may assist with diagnosis though they are not always necessary.
What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for a trapped nerve?
There are a lot of physiotherapy treatment options available for a trapped nerve. Following your initial assessment you will be provided with a treatment plan that is tailored to your lifestyle and goals for therapy. Treatment varies from person to person.
Treatment can include:
- Stretching exercises
- Posture correction
- Strengthening exercises
- Advice and education
- Soft tissue massage
- Joint mobilisations
- Joint manipulations
Benefit of physiotherapy for trapped nerves?
Physiotherapy is an effective method of treatment for trapped nerves and it is important to seek physiotherapy treatment as soon as possible to relieve symptoms and prevent any long-term damage. The benefits of physiotherapy differ between individuals based on what your initial complaint is and what your treatment goals are.
Physiotherapy assists with:
- Reduced pain
- Increased range of movement
- Increased strength
- Prevention of re-injury
- Enhanced recovery