Pain Caused By Trapped Nerve In The Back

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 No Commented
Categorized Under: Back pain

When there is pain because a nerve coming from the spinal cord is pressed or there is a trapped nerve in back areas of the body, it is usually sciatica. The pain is oftentimes caused by the irritation and inflammation caused by a prolapsed disc and the impingement of a nerve.

Although the problem is a trapped nerve in back portion of the torso, the pain is felt along the course of the nerve down the buttocks to the leg to the foot. It is either the left or right because the sciatic nerve divides at the lumbar section to go down each leg. The prolapsed disc or slipped disc either slides to the left or the right, not pressing down on both sides. The pain from sciatica ranges from mild to severe, but the pain down the leg is radiating and is usually more acute than the pain in the lower back. There may also be the “pins and needles” feeling and numbness or weakness felt in a part of the buttock, leg or foot. The site of the impingement is always a determining factor on the resulting symptoms and the severity of pain.

When the trapped nerve in back area is caused by a prolapsed disc pressing down a nerve at the very bottom of the spinal cord, this is considered a rare condition called cauda equine syndrome. This rare condition should be considered an emergency because it causes a dysfunction in the bowel movement and in the bladder’s urinary functions. The patient is usually unable to urinate, experiences numbness in the saddle area and in the anal region and feels weakness in the legs. This syndrome needs immediate attention from your doctor because the nerves to the bowel and bladder if left untreated may suffer permanent damage.

There have been cases where prolapsed disc or other forms of herniated disc were discovered during a routine examination without the patient realizing that he has the condition. When there is no trapped nerve in back of torso due to the slipped disc or any part of the disorder (including the inflammation) is not pressing down on any nerve, there is no pain signal sent to the brain. The symptoms of the condition will all depend on the sensation to the nerve and its messages sent to the brain. The symptoms will sometime disappear in a few weeks. Some cases of repeated MRI scans show that the prolapsed portion of the disc diminishes in size over time. The symptoms also lessen and ease and eventually go away. Only 1 in every 10 case would the pain be still bad enough to last more than a month, and this may then necessitate surgical procedures.

There are tests like x-rays and scans that your doctor will want done to see the extent of the damage and if there is a trapped nerve in back area of the lumbar region. An MRI scan may be necessary to see where the site of the disc is, evaluate its size and to determine if surgery is necessary. Your doctor will then diagnose your illness based on the test results and your symptoms.

After the diagnosis and the doctor has ruled out immediate surgery, you should continue with your normal activities as is practicable. If the pain is very bad, you must take it a little easy but should continue to move about to lessen the chance of your limbs to atrophy with prolonged staying in bed. Immobility for a long time will cause you more harm than good.

Aside from physical therapy, muscle relaxants and pain relievers are prescribed to ease the pains caused by a trapped nerve in back of the torso.