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.