What are the Most Common Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve in the Lower Back?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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A pinched nerve in the lower back will produce symptoms that can vary according to which nerve has been pinched. The most nerve that most commonly becomes compressed is the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back, through the buttocks and hips, and down the legs down to the heels. When this nerve is pinched, pain may be felt anywhere in those areas. If the nerve is compressed in the lower back, a person might feel pain in the lower leg, in the lower back, or in the hips and buttocks.

Other types of pain may occur as a result of a pinched nerve in the lower back. A patient may suffer from numbness, tingling, aching, and even a loss of mobility in the legs and hips, and tightness may be felt in the hips and buttocks as well as the hamstrings. Most of these sensations are associated with the sciatic nerve, and the condition is known as sciatica.

A nerve in the lower back can become pinched for many reasons, but a common cause is as a herniated disc in the spine. This is when the spinal disc between two vertebrae ruptures or bulges, pressing against the nerve and causing neurological issues throughout the area of the body serviced by that nerve. Muscle tightness and misaligned hips can also cause sciatic nerve pain.


Pain may also occur in the lower back when a patient has a pinched nerve there, though the pain may not be the result of nerve compression at all. In some cases, it may be pain caused by the underlying condition that leads to the nerve compression. A herniated disc can cause pain or discomfort in the lower back, and muscle tightness or muscle strains can cause moderate to severe pain in the lower back or buttocks. If muscles in the legs become tight or strained, they may also compress the sciatic nerve, which can lead to nerve pain in the buttocks or lower back.

Treatment for a pinched nerve in the lower back will vary according to the underlying cause. Muscle strains often heal on their own after time, provided the sufferer allows for plenty of rest and avoids using the muscle for a period of time. A herniated disc will also commonly heal on its own, though in some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged disc.


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Post 6

I have numbness constantly in my feet, knees and thighs. My left leg is so stiff and it feels like my hamstring is tight. My lower back is tight constantly and aches sometimes.

I had x-rays and an MRI and everything is fine. Muscle relaxers don't give me any relief. I have no pain -- just this numbness and limited mobility in my left leg.

Post 5

After a traffic accident, I have the same problem and I cannot see a doctor. I cannot afford it. The back of my thigh is numb, and I have cramps in my butt cheek and the back of my thigh. It is driving me insane. I am still walking every day and cutting the yard with a push mower and taking dance. I am praying God will help me.

My family blows me off, saying oh you'll get over it. If they had it, it would be fake crying and slapping the table and screaming I cannot take this anymore, but I have to suffer in silence. Best of luck to you all. Heat seems to help a little.

Post 4

I have a pinched nerve in my SL5-SL4, in my sciatic nerve, which I usually call my psychotic nerve because it drives me crazy. I have tried everything that doctors have told me to do and nothing works. I take Vicodin 7.5 mg as needed and they just seem to take the edge off -- no miracle drug there. I take a muscle relaxer as well as needed. Heating pad, ice pack, physical therapy -- I've been there and back. The pain will not go away.

I am agitated, aggravated, annoyed, saddened, depressed and always hopeful that something will help or take the pain away. I an 51 yrs old and I don't think God listens to my prayers. I work a

40-plus hour week in which my job literally kills me and on the weekends I just relax, but life is passing me by so I have decided that I am just going to have to bite my lip and move on. I hate this, but I cherish my life more.
Post 3

Can anyone tell me what to do for a pinched nerve in my lower back?

My doctor has given me some medication to take care of inflammation and suggested that I see a physiotherapist but I would love to do some things on my own to feel better. I have heard that lower back pain exercises can help to relive the pressure on the nerve, but other than that there isn't much I can do for lower back pain relief. I am pretty much willing to try anything because the pain makes it really hard to sleep some nights. Right now I am stuck sleeping with a pillow between my knees and doing my best to take my medication.

Post 2

@lonelygod - You really should go to see the doctor about your lower back pain. I have a spinal injury and there are so many lower back pain causes that you need to make sure it isn't something serious.

I would suggest you try hot compresses on your back or some muscle rub cream, but if it is a nerve issue it is unlikely those will help you much. If you see your doctor he or she can give you the correct lower back pain treatment and may be able to suggest some exercises for lower back pain that will help you. Just don't do anything until you see your doctor as you could make things worse.

Post 1

Has anyone experience lower back pain caused by a pinched nerve? Are there any tips you can give to lesson the pain?

I have had the most severe lower back pain for the past few months, and while I do take over-the-counter painkillers they just don't do that much.

What bothers me the most is that the pain travels down my right leg and it feels like a terrible muscle cramp. My thigh and calf ache when my back is really bad. I am starting to worry that I may have pinched my sciatic nerve and will need to go to the doctors.

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