Sciatica Pain Nerve roots irritation for lower lumbar & lumbosacral spine

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Is the Irritation of the Nerve Roots of the Lower Lumbar and Lumbosacral Spine the Cause of Your Sciatica?

For many, the root cause of their sciatica pain is located in the nerve roots of the lower back and sacrum regions. There are five lumbar nerves, five sacral nerves and one coccygeal nerve root. Your sciatica condition could be caused by one or more nerve compression events across the three spine segments.

Understanding Lower Lumbar and Lumbosacral Nerve Root Pain

It is wise to get an idea of the complexity of this back region which is made up of 5 lumbar vertebrae, the sacrum and the coccyx. The five lumbar vertebrae are numbered L1 through L5 and are considered the end of the spinal column. As we age, our spines can degenerate. These nerve roots occupy tight spaces in the foramen and they can become inflamed, which means they swell and press against the surrounding bone of the nerve channels causing the shooting or radiating pain typical of sciatica. The lumbar nerve that is most frequently pinched is L5. Symptoms of an L5 impingement is a feeling of weakness in your toe or you may have a hard time lifting your foot.

Just below L5 rests the sacrum which is a bony structure that is shaped like a triangle and is made up of five fused vertebrae S1-S5. The sacrum is designed to fit right into the back of the pelvis at the hips. The most problematic of the sacrum nerve roots is S1. Chief sciatica symptoms for the S1 nerve root is a weakness in your calf muscle especially when pushing off, which makes it very difficult to be a sprinter. Plus it blocks a routine ankle reflex test.

The coccyx or tailbone is the tiny bone at the very base of the spine which is often damaged in falls. All of these bones have large and small muscles connected to them via ligaments. Any of these nerves can be pinched by a disc herniation, a slipped disc, spinal stenosis, fractured vertebra or by an osteophyte caused by arthritis.

One of the most common causes of lumbar and lumbosacral nerve root pain is a herniated disc which is impinging on the nerve root. If physical therapy and pain relievers have not worked, the patient may be advised by his or her back doctor to opt for a minimally invasive operation. Basic Spine’s neurosurgeons can provide the full spectrum of out-patient treatments to treat sciatica. In most cases, the patient is in and out on the same day.

If you are diagnosed with sciatica in your lower lumbar and lumbosacral region caused by nerve root pain, it is crucial to discuss your treatment options with your Basic Spine health expert. He/she will be able to build a sciatica treatment regimen that works best for you. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and following your doctor’s instructions will greatly increase your chances for a successful outcome and a life with less pain.

Tips for Preventing and Managing Low Back Pain at Home

  • Regular stretching and exercise can help prevent and ease low back pain.
  • When lifting heavy objects, use your legs for leverage, not your back.
  • Walk cautiously and wear shoes with good traction when walking on slippery
    surfaces.
  • When carrying something, be sure to distribute its weight evenly, not favoring one
    side.
  • Consult a spine specialist for severe low back pain that hasn’t resolved with
    conservative methods in a few weeks.

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