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Common Symptoms of Lower Back Pain

Updated on August 19, 2013

Lower back pain symptoms have one thing only in common: pain in the back near the curve in the spine. People frequently ignore minor pains in the lumbar region believing that it is just from using muscles that they don’t normally use or because they are older. This may or may not be true. There are a multiple of underlying causes. Each of these causes of that pain exhibits different symptoms for each cause.

Lower Back Pain Symptoms – Pinched Nerve

There are two forms of “pinched nerve” when it comes to lower back pain symptoms. The first is a simple pinched nerve and the second is more commonly referred to as compressed nerve or Nerve impingement Syndrome.

Simple Pinched Nerve

The symptoms of the simple pinched nerve are caused by twisting the neck or back when doing a normal activity. These symptoms usually last only a few days and are relieved by over-the-counter pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen and applying heat or cold to the area. Typical symptoms include a tingling sensation similar to when your extremities fall asleep, numbness in the area served by the nerve and weakness in the muscle near the area affected. The pain is commonly sharp and short in duration only when motion affecting it is involved. However, soreness and tension in muscles surrounding the area is common.

Nerve Impingement Syndrome or Compressed Nerve

This diagnosis is required by a physician. It involves damage or injury to a set of nerves or a nerve that leads to a set. The nerve damage is often related to an injury that compresses, constricts or stretches the surrounding bone, muscle or tissue that touches the never in question.

Symptoms include

  • a burning sensation in an area where there is a pricking sensation
  • radiating pain that is sharp and frequent
  • Severe muscle weakness in legs
  • Numbness and loss of feeling in legs and feet
  • Inability to move or use legs or arms without severe pain

These symptoms require immediate medical attention to determine the severity of the damage that may have occurred and the reason for the damage. These symptoms can indicate anything from arthritis to herniated disc.

Symptoms of Herniated Disc

Lower back pain symptoms caused by a slipped, ruptured or herniated disc vary depending on the location of the lumbar region in which it occurs. This is one of the most commonly stated causes of lower back pain among average people. Even so, it is one of the least understood by the majority of victims.

If you think of a spinal disc as a tire that is inflated with goo, and, as it acquires high mileage the inner layer of the tire weakens. The same is true with spinal discs. Sometimes the tire will get a bubble in the weakened area = which is similar to what happens in a disc. The slightest bump or exertion of added weight can cause the bubble to burst and the goo oozes out of the tire leaving both tire and disc flattened. As the tire is no longer useful to the car, the disc is no longer useful to prevent the bones in the spine from grinding on each other.

Herniated discs that are not touching a nerve exhibits lower back include symptoms that include:

  • A low-grade constant ache after standing or sitting for long periods
  • No symptoms at all
  • Occasional sharp pain when turning the wrong way or sleeping the wrong way
  • Soreness in the back on waking from a nights sleep
  • Stiffness on rising in the morning, which may last for several hours

Herniated discs that are pressing on nerves typically exhibits lower back pain symptoms that include:

  • Pain radiating down the leg and into the foot or ankle
  • Pain in the buttocks when sitting for short periods of time
  • Numbness followed by sudden sharp pain even when lying still
  • Sleep interruptions from pain in the lower back and legs
  • Sensations that the legs are asleep when walking

These symptoms can indicate that a scrap of bone has been loosened from the bone and is pressing against the sciatic nerve. It can also indicate that an infection may be present or that a tumor has interrupted the blood flow to the nerve.

Lower Back Pain Symptoms Require Medical Attention

Unless the pain is due to a known movement or activity and is relieved overnight, medical attention is needed to prevent any further damage to the spine. Lower back pain symptoms are serious and deserve proper attention from a professional.


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