Where is the lumbar spine?
The lumbar spine, also called the lumbar part of the spine, is located above the sacrum and coccyx. The lumbar vertebrae (L1 to L5), are movable, the vertebrae of the sacrum and coccyx are not.
What is lumbar spine syndrome?
The upright gait of humans puts particular strain on the very mobile lumbar spine. If this load is permanent and one-sided, it can lead to degenerative changes within the lumbar spine and eventually to painful irritation. This pain is better known as lumbar spine syndrome.
Often, a combination of several degenerative changes leads to lumbar spine syndrome. Protrusion of the Intervertebral discswear and tear of the vertebral joints or thickening of the ligaments cause the spinal canal to narrow (spinal canal stenosis). The nerves that run through the canal are constricted as a result. The consequences are pain and, in serious cases, numbness due to damage to the nerves.
Herniated disc in the lumbar spine
The so-called lumbar intervertebral discs lie between the lumbar vertebrae. The great mobility of the lumbar spine acts with great force on the intervertebral discs. With age, the fibrous rings that surround and protect the soft core of the intervertebral disc can become porous. A jerky movement or heavy lifting can cause a tear in the fibrous ring to press the gelatinous core of the intervertebral disc outwards. This is then called a herniated disc, and if it is in the lumbar spine, it is called a lumbar disc herniation.
Since the intervertebral disc between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae (L4 and L5) or between the fifth lumbar vertebra and the first vertebra of the sacrum is particularly stressed, lumbar disc herniation usually occurs between these vertebrae. It becomes noticeable through local Back pain in the case of forward bending. If nerve roots are pinched, symptoms include numbness and even paralysis in the leg.
Spondylolisthesis as a cause of pain
If two vertebrae move against each other, this is called spondylolisthesis. This is a classic sign of wear and tear that leads to instability within the spinal column. Spondylolisthesis can also pinch one or more nerves in the spinal canal and cause pain.
What to do for pain in the lumbar spine?
In all cases, it is important to clarify where the pain comes from, whether it radiates or can be localised, whether numbness occurs, and much more. The best thing to do is to consult a doctor who can diagnose whether it is a sign of wear and tear such as Osteoarthritisa combination of different degenerative changes, a slipped disc, or even a Lumbago is involved. In the short term, you can keep the affected areas warm and move around, because a protective posture usually only provides supposed relief. In the long term, only a visit to the doctor, physiotherapy and back exercises will help.
Exercise and gymnastics as prevention
A trained back can take more than an untrained back. To relieve the lumbar spine, regular exercises to strengthen the back muscles and abdominal muscles help. When choosing an ergonomic office chair, those who work a lot in a seated position should also make sure that it does not restrict natural movement when sitting, but rather promotes it, such as the Swopper or the 3Dee from Aeris. And anyone who does heavy physical work should do loosening-up and warming-up exercises before starting work, just like an athlete.