Compressed nerves in the lumbar vertebrae region

Four out of five adults experience neck or back pain at some point in their lives. The lower back is the most common area for this pain to occur, often as a result of compressed, or “pinched,” nerves in the lumbar spine (lower back).

Because the lumbar spine is responsible for supporting the body’s weight and maintaining flexibility in the spine, this section of the spine is the most common location for nerve pain. Repetitive bending and twisting compounds the natural wear and tear of an aging spine, making the lower back particularly prone to conditions like spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis, both of which can result in nerve compression.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica is a term generally associated with pain in the lower back. This condition refers to a series of symptoms and pain that develop when the sciatic nerve in the lumbar spine is compressed.

The sciatic nerve originates at the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae (L4 and L5) and extends downward through the buttocks and into the lower leg. It is the largest nerve in the human body and therefore is somewhat vulnerable to becoming pinched or compressed.

If you have experienced a compressed nerve near the lumbar vertebrae, there’s a good chance it was the sciatic nerve or one of the branches leading into it. The symptoms associated with a compressed sciatic nerve are called sciatica and can include:

  • Local or traveling pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Leg muscle weakness

It’s important to remember that sciatica itself is not a condition, but rather a series of symptoms that result from a spine condition pressing against the sciatic nerve. These lumbar spine conditions can include:

  • Herniated discs
  • Bulging discs
  • Bone spurs
  • Facet disease
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis

Treatment options for lumbar nerve compression

Once your condition is diagnosed, your physician may prescribe a course of conservative treatment, including pain medication, physical therapy, massage or behavior modification.

If chronic lower back continues despite months of conservative treatment, surgery may become an option to relieve the pain of a compressed nerve in the lumbar vertebrae. Before choosing a spine surgery for your condition, contact Laser Spine Institute and ask about the benefits of our minimally invasive spine surgery.

These state-of-the-art procedures are proven to be safer and more effective than traditional open back surgery, often making it the clinically appropriate first choice over traditional spine surgery. To treat a compressed nerve in the lumbar spine, we offer either minimally invasive decompression, or in severe cases, stabilization surgery, though most cases of a pinched nerve can be treated with a decompression procedure. Both procedures offer shorter recovery times§ and lower risk of complication compared to traditional open back surgery.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today for a review of your MRI report or CT scan to find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures.