The lumbosacral region is the area covered by the lumbar spine, sacral spine, and the ligaments and tendons that originate or insert into these structures. Each of the bones, muscles, and soft tissues in the lumbar spine has a role to play in moving the body or stabilizing the spine. When the anatomical alignment of these structures is correct, and the muscles are in balance, the spinal nerves in these areas remain well protected, and free of constriction from the structures around them. Due to poor physical conditioning, occupational hazards, and poor posture, the muscles and soft tissues around the spinal nerves may become tight or inflamed, impacting the spinal nerves. The largest of these nerves in the lumbosacral region is the sciatic nerve. This main nerve and its branches travel the length of the leg, all the way into our heel region. When the sciatic nerve becomes constricted, we may experience pain across our back, and this pain may radiate along the entire pathway of the nerve. Associated symptoms related to the entrapment of this nerve include achiness, weakness, tingling, and numbness. If this nerve entrapment continues, the nerve damage may become permanent. Because of the large length of the sciatic nerve, symptoms of this condition may have several causes in several areas. There are both low tech and high tests available to determine the pain generator related to the patient's low back or leg pain. Let's take a look at one of the possible causes of sciatica - Lumbosacral Strain.
Lumbosacral sprain: there are several muscle pairs in our back that are responsible for holding the back upright, flexing and extending the spine, and performing twisting movements. The paraspinal muscles are one of the largest and support the spine when we are walking, bending, twisting, and lifting weighty objects. These muscles may be strained while performing any one of these movements, especially when doing them incorrectly - using poor body mechanics. Due to the overuse, strain, or trauma to these muscles, they may shorten and become stiff, affecting our ability to move our backs and perform even menial body movements.
The pain resulting from lumbosacral pain may be aggravated by certain movements or an increase in activity levels, such as heavy exercises. Sometimes, the pain may be aggravated by the same movements or positions that caused the original stress to the structures. Sometimes any movement at all is met with extreme discomfort, until the injury heals.
Sprains and strains to the lower region of the spine are quite common. These types of injuries are in fact, the most common cause of lower back pain. In most cases, these injuries heal on their own within days of rest or conservative treatments such as icing and anti-inflammatory medications. In other cases, the pain lingers long after it was expected to go away. This type of pain, when it becomes chronic, may remain localized to a specific area or radiate through the lower back. In some cases, the pain may radiate down the hip, buttocks, and leg when the nerve roots of the lumbar spine or those exiting the sacrum are affected.
Symptoms just mentioned above may be caused by several possible causes that could all affect the spinal nerves. Let's take a look at what lumbosacral strain does to the spinal nerves, the muscles in these areas, and how to differentiate these types of injuries may other primary causes of sciatica, such as lumbar herniated discs.
The lumbosacral region involves the bones of the pelvic, sacrum/coccyx, muscles, and soft tissue structures that hold the spine together and move it. The spinal nerves, such as the sciatic nerve, travel under and through the muscles that originate or insert into these structures, such as the piriformis muscle. Certain lifestyle factors and decisions that we make, such as how we decide to use our bodies, may affect these structures. Factors that may cause muscle strain in this area include a lack of regular exercise, poor posture, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Lumbosacral strain may be caused by lower back trauma, twisting without stretching, and lifting objects improperly.
Due to this strain, people may experience stiffness, persistent pain, a dull ache, in this area. Increased physical activity may make these symptoms more severe. Tightness in the muscles above and around the sciatic nerve may cause irritation, resulting in a burning stabbing pain accompanied by numbness and weakness along the circuit which the sciatic nerve travels.