The back is made up of 33 individual bones that interlock to form the spinal column. The 33 vertebrae are divided into different regions, the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum and coccyx. The lumbar spine is made up of five vertebrae, the L1 to L5. These vertebrae are much larger than others because they are located at the bottom of the spine and have to bear the weight of the body and absorb the stress of lifting and carrying heavy objects.
Because the lumbar spine is vital to everyday movements, from walking to standing to lifting and playing sports, a lumbar injury is common. It is estimated that 80% of adults will experience low back pain during their lifetime, likely due to a lumbar back injury or spinal condition.
Some types of lumbar injuries and conditions that cause lower back pain include:
- Soft-tissue injury (sprain or strain)
- Herniated disc
- Spondylolisthesis (vertebral slip to one side of the body)
- Spondylosis (osteoarthritis of the spine)
- Minor fractures
Some effects on the body after a lumbar injury are obvious, such as back pain, muscle tightness or stiffness and limited mobility. Other symptoms may present themselves if an injury or condition, such as spondylosis or a herniated disc, begin to impinge on a nerve root. These symptoms may include:
- Pain radiating down the legs
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness in one or both legs
- Muscle spasms
The spine is also connected to the internal organs. Sympathetic nerves extend through the L3 to form a connection between the spine and internal organs. This connection can be impacted when you suffer a lumbar spine injury.
The L1 is connected to the large intestine, so those with a lumbar injury may experience digestive issues. The L2 is connected to the appendix and abdomen, so abdominal cramps and difficulty breathing may occur. Finally, the L3 is corrected to the bladder, as well as the uterus in women and prostate in men. Sexual dysfunction and bladder or bowel issues may occur after a lumbar spine injury to the L3.
If you’re suffering from back pain or a spinal condition, chiropractic care can provide pain relief and realign your spine. To schedule an appointment with a chiropractor near you, call 1-877-DRRIGHT.