Chiropractic Care for Your Health — Lumbar Spine

The Lumbar and Sacral Spine (Lower Back)

This article is Part 3 of 3, helping you understand the importance of chiropractic care and its effect on your health. The spine is divided into 3 main areas: the Cervical Spine (Neck), the Thoracic Spine (upper to mid-back), and the Lumbar / Sacral Spine (lower back).

Part 3: The Lumbar and Sacral Spine (Lower Back)

The Lumbar Spine

lumbar spine pain, sciaticaThe lumbar spine contains the vertebrae labeled L1 – L5. These 5 vertebrae are located in the lower back starting just below T12 of the thoracic spine. The lumbar spine supports the majority of your upper body weight and includes the strongest and largest vertebrae in your spine. The lumbar spine is more flexible than the thoracic spine, allowing you to turn, twist, and bend in every direction.

Nerves Exiting the Lumbar Spine

The nerves that exit from the lumbar spine control the functions of muscles and organs including muscles in the core, legs, buttock, and back. These nerves also control the bladder, colon, reproductive organs, large intestines, and the prostate gland.

The Sciatic Nerve & Sciatica

Of all the nerves exiting the lumbar spine the most commonly known is the sciatic nerve, which exits from the vertebrae goes down through the buttock, runs down the back of the leg to the feet, and into your toes. The sciatic nerve is more than one nerve. It is actually comprised of five different nerves and is the longest nerve in the body. Pain from the sciatic nerve is called sciatica. Sciatica can be caused by subluxations (misalignments to the vertebrae), osteoarthritis, disc degeneration, and/or a bulging/protruded disc (disc herniation). Sciatica is a very common problem that is often addressed by chiropractic adjustments. Sciatica pain is often experienced as lower back pain, leg pain, numbness in the leg, aching or burning legs, tingling or weakness in the leg, and even pain in the big toe.

Maintaining the Lumbar Spine

The lumbar spine supports the majority of the weight of the upper body, so it should come as no surprise that proper posture and maintaining a strong core are both important to the long-term health of the lumbar spine. The core muscles stabilize and support the lumbar spine. There are 3 main types of core muscles: oblique, flexor, and extensor. The obliques help the spine rotate and also maintain proper posture. The flexors' job is to allow your body to flex, arch your lower back, and bend forward. The extensor muscles allow you to lift objects and stand. Maintaining your core muscles helps to support the lumbar spine and your posture.

Some of the Symptom Related to Problems in the Lumbar Spine

  • Lumbar SpineBladder problems
  • Cold feet
  • Colitis
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas pain
  • Incontinence
  • Infertility
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Lower back pain
  • Menstrual problems
  • Miscarriages
  • Poor circulation
  • Sciatica
  • Swollen ankles

The Sacral Spine

The sacral spine contains 5 fused vertebrae labeled S1 – S5 and is located at the base of the spinal column. Positioned between the hipbones, the sacral spine supports the upper body and stabilizes the pelvic girdle. The 5 vertebrae that constitute the sacral spine are also known as the sacrum. The sacrum, a triangular-shaped bone, contains the 5 vertebrae of the sacral spine and joins the hipbones (ilium) at the sacroiliac joints.

A common pain for the sacral spine is at the sacroiliac joints. Sacroiliac joint pain comes from joint dysfunction, which may lead to nerve irritation, inflammation, or subluxations causing nerve interference and compression. Sacroiliac joint pain can be felt in the hip joints, buttocks, groin, and lower back.

Some of the Symptom Related to Problems in the Sacral Spine

  • Bladder problems
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Lower back pain
  • Menstrual problems
  • Numbness or pain in legs

Lower Back Pain (Lumbar Spine Pain)

Most people will experience back pain, and for many people, they will experience lower back pain (lumbar spine) and specifically sciatica. Sciatica pain is very common, especially since so many people have jobs requiring them to sit at a desk for hours. Sciatic nerve pain is also extremely common during pregnancy.

Sciatica and lower back pain are some of the most common problems chiropractors help their patients with every day. As a chiropractor, Dr. Steve Silverston's goal is to help you find relief from your lower back pain as well as avoiding the many problems associated with lumbar spine back pain.

If you are dealing with lower back pain, or are experiencing any of the symptoms listed in this article, please call World Class Chiropractic to arrange an appointment. Call (410) 461-3435 or use our convenient appointment form. If you have any friends or family that may benefit from this information, please recommend this article to them.

Read Part 1: The Cervical Spine    |    Read Part 2: The Thoracic Spine