Severe low back pain radiating into the leg may occur when the sciatic leg nerve becomes compressed and irritated. Symptoms of lumbar radiculopathy may feel like burning, searing, shooting and cramping.
Lumbar radiculopathy usually arises when a herniated or bulging disc becomes more severe and places greater pressure on the nerve root. (see Discogenic or Herniated Discs)
Severe nerve pressure may make this condition more difficult to treat. Initial therapy includes mechanical and manual lumbar traction to take pressure off the affected nerves. As the pressure diminishes, further therapy may include joint and soft tissue mobilization, passive stretching, and myofascial release to return normal movement to the spine. A specific exercise program can help prevent scarring of the low back nerves. Once normal movement has returned, the patient will progress to core stabilization exercises to build strength.