333 East 38th Street, 6th Floor New York, NY 10016
What Does Your Lumbar Spine Do?
The lumbar region of your spine is also known as your lower back. The five lowest vertebrae of your spine make up the lumbar area and it is one of the most common locations for injury and pain. These vertebrae are the biggest and strongest of the spine, giving them an important role in your body’s health.
The lumbar region carries the most of your body’s weight. It also has the most demands placed on it for your body’s flexibility. Your ability to move around is closely tied to a healthy lumbar spine. It consists of a network of muscles and nerves intertwined with the vertebrae that allow your body to rotate. Your body’s mobility and function are heavily reliant on a healthy lumbar spine. However, since it is the most used area of the back, the lumbar region is highly susceptible to injury or strain.
One common complaint related to the lumbar spine is sciatica, a painful condition tied to the sciatic nerve which runs from your lower back all the way down your legs to your feet. The roots of the sciatic nerve are located in the lumbar area, so when the lower back is damaged in some way it may cause sciatica. This nerve disorder can be debilitating and require treatment from an experienced physician like Dr. Charla Fischer in NYC.
Extra weight or stress on the lumbar area can result in lordosis, a condition in which the lumbar area arches excessively. This is often referred to as swayback. This disorder stresses the lower back muscles so much that they begin to spasm and cause pain. Lordosis may also be caused by having too few or too many vertebrae in the lumbar region, resulting in either too little or too much flexibility in the lower back. Dr. Fischer is qualified and experienced in handling cases of lordosis so that patients may regain their normal movement and eliminate pain.
The muscles in your lower back must be maintained to help your body function normally. Uneven muscle strength can lead to disorders like lordosis. It is also important to maintain strong core muscles, located in your abdomen, because the core muscles are closely tied to the lumbar muscles. If both muscle sites are equally strong, your lumbar spine is more likely to be healthy and pain-free.
Good posture is a key goal for your entire spine, not just the lower region. You may have heard the term neutral spine. This refers to maintaining the natural curves of a healthy spine when you sit, stand, or sleep by lining up your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles all in a straight line. When your spine is neutral, muscles are relaxed and vertebrae and joints have minimal stress placed upon them. On the other hand, when your spine is out of the neutral position, your body’s alignment is off and abnormal pressure is placed on your muscles and joints. Recurrent positioning outside the neutral spine can cause pain and other issues. Dr. Fisher can offer tips on attaining a neutral spine and proper posture to help avoid back problems.