Lumbar

Lumbar Spine

What is the lumbar spine?

The lower part of the back, also called the lumbar spine, is made up of five bones called vertebrae which are given the labels L1 through L5. The lumbar spine is located between the chest, or thoracic area, and the lowest portion of the spinal column, known as the sacrum. Lumbar is a word that was taken from a Latin word that means “lion.”

The lumbar spine usually curves just slightly inward. This curve is called lordosis. The curve of the lumbar spine, as well as the other spinal curves helps provide balance and also protection from vibrations and shocks as the body moves. The lumbar spine area contains muscles that are quite large. These provide support for the back and they allow the body’s trunk to move. A common reason for low back pain is muscle spasms that occur when these large muscles are strained.

Special joints called “facet” connect the five bones (vertebrae) of the lumbar spine. These allow the lumbar spine to twist, extend backward and bend forward. The lowest segments of the lumbar spine have the most mobility. These segments are also responsible for carrying the most weight, so they are at increased risk of being injured.

Reasons for Lumbar Spine Problems

Intervertebral discs lie between the vertebrae of the lumbar spine. These provide support and cushioning for the bones. The
intervertebral discs found in the lower or lumbar spine are more likely to degenerate and then herniate or bulge than other discs of the spine. This is because they move more, so wear out more quickly. A bulging or herniated disc, or one that is degenerated, can cause inflammation and pressure on the nerves. This can be a reason for low back pain, and it can also be a reason for the pain that travels down into the buttocks and radiates to the back of the thighs and down the legs into the feet - sciatica. Pain related to compressed nerves is sometimes called radiculopathy.

The spinal cord starts at the base of the skull and ends at the point where the lumbar spine and the thoracic spine meet. The cauda equina is found here, which is a group or bundle of nerve roots branching out from the spinal cord.

The cauda equina was named for its similarity in appearance to the tail of a horse. There are many nerves in this bundle, extending from the lumbar spine to provide nerve function to the feet, legs, and buttocks. Since the spinal cord itself does not pass through the lumbar spine, spinal cord damage rarely result from injury or insult to the lower back. Cauda equina syndrome is a very serious condition, however.

Lumbar Spine Problems

Here are some of the most common lumbar spine diseases:

    • Degenerative Disc Disease - Degenerative disc disease or degenerative disc disorder, sometimes called DDD, occurs when one or more of the discs that lie between the vertebrae of the spine begin to dehydrate, shrink or compress. Discs begin to degenerate as a normal part of aging and for many people, this doesn't cause problems. But in other people, degenerative disc disease that is not treated causes severe and on-going neck or back pain.

 

    • Spinal Disc Herniation - A herniated disc occurs when the nucleus pulposus, which is the gel-like inner substance of an intervertebral disc, breaks through the annulus fibrosus, which is the tough, outer rim of the tire-like structure. Pain is the most common symptom. However, nerve compression and inflammation can cause other symptoms including numbness, tingling and/or weakness in the extremities can also occur with a herniated disc.

 

    • Spinal Stenosis - Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when the spaces in your backbone (spine) become narrow. When this happens, your spinal cord and its nerves can become compressed or pinched. More than half the time, spinal stenosis occurs in the lumbar spine, which is the lower portion of the back, and the narrowing of the spine that goes along with this condition causes pain that travels down the back of the leg.

 

    • Sciatica - Compression and irritation of your sciatic nerve or its nerve roots can cause sciatica, which is the medical term used to describe a set of symptoms that commonly occur together. Your sciatic nerves have their origin in your lower spine area and travel down the back of your thighs and legs. They are responsible for muscle movement in the legs and are also responsible for the feelings of pain and touch in the legs.

 

    • Scoliosis - When a person has scoliosis, this straight line is curved. Scoliosis most often occurs during a person’s growth spurt just right before hitting puberty and can be mild and stay stable over time while others get progressively worse and show a significant degree of curvature.

 

    • Radiculopathy - Radiculopathy is used to describe a variety of sensations (mostly pain) that originates from the middle portion of a person’s spine. The most common type of radiculopathy is Lumbar Radiculopathy, which refers to a variety of sensations (same as thoracic radiculopathy) that comes from the lower back part of the spine.

 

    • Spondylolisthesis - Spondylolisthesis is defined as the displacement or slippage of one your vertebra compared to another or all others. It is a condition that occurs when your vertebra (the bone in your back) slides forward and over the bone below it.

 

    • Myelopathy - Myelopathy is a medical term that is used to describe any neurological disorder of the spinal cord. It is typically caused by compression of the spinal cord due to bone spurs, also known as Osteophytes, or by herniated or “ruptured” discs in the spine.

 

    • Lordosis - Lordosis of the spine pertains to an individual's characteristic lordotic bend, which is ordinary. However, in the event that an individual's bend curves too far inside, it's called lordosis, or swayback. Lordosis of the spine can influence the lower back and neck.

 

  • Kyphosis - Kyphosis is the medical term for "hunchback." It happens when the upper portion of the spine (the thoracic) region is abnormally curved forward. Some forward curvature in this region is normal, but if the curve is greater than 50 degrees the condition is considered to be "kyphotic" which is abnormal.

 

Tips to prevent Lumbar Lordosis from affecting the body.

Show Less Show Comments
Questions & Answers
Q:
What is the best way to treat permanent back and neck pain and stiffness?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Use a telephone headset

Never hold a phone between your shoulder and your ear. Use a headset or other hands-free system to talk on the phone and avoid abusing your neck and spine.

Neck Pain Tips: Exercise your neck muscles

One of the best neck pain tips is using the chin tuck. You can do this often throughout the day. In addition to helping strengthen the muscles that hold the head in alignment over the shoulders, it also helps strengthen the scalene and sub-occipital muscles.

Read more tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

Read more
Temed Holdings
4 answers
Q:
What is the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder Pain?
A:

One of the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder pain is exercises:

Neck Pain Exercises: Neck Extension

  1. To begin this neck pain exercise, sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the palm of your hand on the back of your neck, at the base of your head
  4. Apply slight forward pressure with your hand, while resisting the forward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

Neck pain exercises: Side bend

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place your left hand, palm down, on the left side of your head (around your ear)
  4. Slightly push your head to the right side with your hand, while resisting the sideways motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat 5-10 times
  7. Repeat the neck pain exercises with the other side.

Neck pain exercises: Neck flexion

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the tips of your fingers on your forehead
  4. Slightly push your head backward with your fingers, while resisting the backward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

More exercises here: Neck Pain Exercises

Read more
Temed Holdings
4 answers
Q:
How do I reduce the shoulder and neck pain?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Carry weight evenly

Many people make the mistake of carrying a heavy briefcase or their purse on their shoulder or on one side of their body. Doing this causes strain in the muscles and leads to pain.

Remove non-essentials from your briefcase or purse. Consider using a backpack to evenly distribute the weight across your shoulders. If you choose to carry a purse or backpack, keep your shoulders level while carrying it.

Neck Pain Tips: Maintain a proper posture

The most common posture contributing to neck pain is the “head-and-shoulders-forward” posture. In this position, the neck slopes forward, putting the head in front of the shoulders.

In this position, the head pulls the upper back forward also in a slumped position. This places a strain on the entire spinal column.

More tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

Read more
Temed Holdings
4 answers