Nerve pinching – What is it?
Pinching of the nerve can occur in any part of the body. It happens when the altered ambious tissue (inflammation, tumours, etc.) press on nerve endings then they constantly transmit painful sensations. Even if the nerve is healthy, the patient will experience severe pain. Without immediate treatment, the nerves usually get inflamed and this causes intolerable pain.
The largest nerve in the body is the sciatic nerve and it is formed from fusion of several roots of L4-S3 in the lower back – sciatic spine, then it goes all the way to the buttocks, the back of the thigh and to the lower part of the leg. Therefore, pain in one specific part will cause pain in the whole limb. If the disease is neglected, sensitivity and mobility will be lost and it will be very unpleasant if both legs have been affected.
Possible causes of pinching
The nerve can be struck at any level of its location. This can happen for a variety of reasons:
- Intervertebral hernia. This is the most common cause. Even a small deformation of the fibrous ring can pinch the nerve roots that form the sciatic nerve.
- Osteochondrosis, curvature of the spine or edge bone growth of the vertebrae bodies.
- Displacement of the vertebrae (leaf) after back injuries and as a result of degenerative processes.
- Tumours of the spine, pelvic floor and gluteal region.
- Inflammation of the pelvic organs.
- Thrombosis of nearby vessels.
- Muscle inflammation and swelling: After hypothermia, injuries or excessive physical activity.
- Pear muscle syndrome.
- Pregnancy, in which the uterus and the foetus put too much pressure on the neighbouring tissues.
This disease can develop faster as a result of obesity and lack of minerals and if the individual has endocrine diseases such as diabetes. Moreover, the sciatic nerve can also be damaged after infections and poisonings.
Symptoms of sciatic nerve pinching
The main symptom of sciatic nerve damage is pain. At this stage, the most difficult thing is to correctly determine the cause of the disease. If the disease is detected treatment and recovery will take much longer.
What is the evidence of the initial stage of pinching?
- Pulling or searing pain, which captures only part of the waist, buttocks and back of the thigh.
- Feeling of goose bumps on your leg.
- Increased unpleasant feelings when changing position, laughing, coughing and when making sharp movements.
- Discomfort and pain while sitting and tilting forward.
You are likely to pay attention to these symptoms in the early stages of the disease. This is because they are often inconspicuous and it weakens periodically. Goosebumps and numb feet can also be because of uncomfortable posture.
The symptoms are usually manifested differently at a later stage. It is at this point that most patients notice the discomfort as it comes with long immobility and sharp pain in the leg. If you do not begin treatment at this stage, you will experience other serious symptoms such as:
- The feeling of intense burning of the skin and the deep layers of the muscles of the back of the leg.
- Sudden restriction of mobility of the leg and lower back.
- Weakness of the affected leg.
- In some cases, patients notice redness or paleness of the leg area with an increase or vice versa decrease in sweating in this area.
Moreover, if the pinching is caused by another disease, its symptoms will be fully manifested. For this reason the disease often goes unnoticed when a person has hernia or fracture, numbness and redness of the legs which may look like any other symptom that is not serious.
What can I do during an attack?
If the pain of pinching comes suddenly, you can relieve your condition with home therapy such as:
- Choose a body position in which pain will be felt least, usually on the back or on a healthy side with a straighten leg on the side where the pain is felt.
- Limit motor activity.
- You can take analgesics: in the form of tablets or ointments for rubbing (in the absence of contraindications).
Remember that pinching cannot be cured at home even if the symptoms subside. Once the symptoms are relieved it is still necessary to visit a neurologist.
What should not be done when the pinching is exacerbated?
You should limit movements as much as possible and if you suspect inflammation, you should not rub the sore spot. Try and sleep on a hard mattress on your sides. You should not also take prescription drugs and anti-inflammatory drugs without consulting the doctor.
Diagnosis and treatment
Apart from a visual examination, a neurologist will make a diagnosis from the following tests:
- X-rays of the lower back and pelvic bones.
- Ultrasound of the pelvic organs.
- Computer or magnetic resonance imaging of the affected area.
- General and biochemical blood test.
With these tests, the doctor will be able to determine the cause of pinching, examine the area of the lesions in detail and learn about the presence of the inflammatory process. If there is need, the doctor can prescribe an ultrasound of the affected region and ENMG which is nerve research using responses to electrical impulses. This will help in understanding exactly where the nerve has been affected.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, B vitamin complex are used for treatment. If the pain is unbearable and it cannot be relived by complex treatment then a blockage can be placed on the affected part. Physiotherapy and LFC can also be done.
If there is need the doctor can also prescribe additional vitamin complexes, painkillers and antioxidants. This will be in conjunction with relieving the symptoms of pinching aside from fighting the cause of the disease. Thus, you can overcome the disease and regain good health without relapsing.