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The Language of Lower Back Pain

By Debra Rodzinak

Becoming familiar with the terms and anatomy of your spine can help communication between you and your chiropractor become more effective. If you suffer from lower back pain, as many chiropractic patients do, knowing the anatomy of your spine to allow a discussion with your chiropractor is an important part of your overall healing program.

Spinal Anatomy

The spine is divided into four sections. Beginning with the neck and proceeding downward: The cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, and sacral region make up the neck, upper back, lower back, and pelvis, respectively. Most complaints dealing with pain occur in the lumbar spine or lower back region.

Lumbar Spine

The lower back is called the lumbar region of the spine. This area contains five vertebrae named L1 through L5. These vertebrae are bones that support the body and are separated by discs. The lumbar region naturally curves and is supported by large muscles in the lower back. When you twist or bend, these muscles allow you to do so.

Facet joints connect each vertebra in the spine and allow them to bend and flex as the spine bends. Of the lumbar vertebrae, the bottom two (L4 and L5) bear most of the weight of the body and are prone to injury. Bulging of the discs is called herniation and the wearing away of the discs is called degeneration. Both of these problems cause pain in the lower back that can actually travel to the legs and feet.

Spinal Nerves

The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that travels from the head down the back to the tailbone. The pain felt in lower back can be caused by nerves that are pressed or trapped by vertebrae that are herniated or degenerated. 

At the top of the lumbar region (L1), the nerve roots branch out and travel through the pelvis down the legs to the feet. If the nerves in this area are compressed, pain can radiate down the legs and feet. This type of pain is called radiculopathy.

Discussion with a Chiropractor

If a patient is experiencing pain in their lower back or legs and feet, a discussion with a chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic can lead to a plan of action that will ultimately give the patient relief. Understanding the overall makeup of the spine and more specifically the lumbar region can equip a patient with knowledge that will allow them to work with their chiropractor to achieve an overall better result. 

At The Joint, the chiropractors believe that a patient can find relief on their terms. The Joint is reinventing the chiropractic customer experience by putting the patient in control of their personalized treatment plan. With convenient locations and extended evening and weekend hours, our affordable plans and packages provide every patient with a path to better health. 


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