Rest, physical therapy, pain medications and surgery are the treatment options for a pinched nerve running down the leg. Pinched nerves at several sites, such as a disk in the lower spine or in the leg itself, can lead to significant pain, tingling or numbness in the legs, notes Mayo Clinic.
When the tendons, muscles, cartilage, bones or other tissue around a nerve apply too much pressure, the result is a disruption of the nerve's function, leading to weakness, numbness and/or pain. There are multiple places where this pressure could cause pain in the leg, including the nerve roots in the spine, according to Mayo Clinic.
Many times, simply taking a hiatus from activities that lead to or worsen the pressure allows the tissue time to return back to its normal position or lose the swelling that led to the compression. In some cases, a brace or splint can be used to hold the affected part of the body still, giving the muscles even more opportunity to rest. When rest does not work, a physical therapist can suggest exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the lower back and/or leg that are causing the pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen or ibuprofen, can ease pain and bring swelling down. When these drugs do not resolve the pain, corticosteroid injections may be administered. In rare cases, surgery is necessary to move bone fragments or parts of the spine to take the pressure off the nerve, as stated by Mayo Clinic.