The sacral spine refers to the five fused vertebrae (S1-S5) at the end of the spinal column. Basically, the sacral spine is located behind the pelvis, between the hip bones and connects the spinal column to the pelvis. This general area is sometimes referred to as the lumbosacral spine.
The top sacral vertebra (S1) connects to the last lumbar vertebra (L5 or L6), and the lowest sacral vertebra (S5) connects to the coccyx, or tailbone. The first vertebra of the sacral spine, S1, is one of the most common vertebrae susceptible to injuries like a pinched nerve, bulging disc or herniated disc.
Whether due to age or injury, the protective discs between our vertebrae can be weakened to the point that they swell (bulge) or break open (rupture). If this causes increased pressure to be placed on nerve roots or the spinal cord, it can manifest as painful symptoms like tingling, weakness, loss of feeling, burning or radicular pain in the sacral spine region.
Because the sacral spine bears so many of the body’s movements, like twisting, bending, lifting and stretching, it is especially vulnerable to painful problems. One major nerve that resides in this lumbosacral region (specifically L4 through S3) is the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the entire body, which controls motor and sensory functions in the lower body. When this nerve becomes constricted, the radiating pain that is felt is referred to as sciatica. Sciatica can affect the buttocks, thighs, calves and toes.
If your physician diagnoses you with sciatica, he or she may recommend a combination of the following traditional treatments:
- Physical therapy or chiropractic work
- Prescription or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications
- Steroid (cortisone) injections
If you find that these treatments still don’t relieve your sacral spine symptoms, your physician may also suggest a traditional open back surgery. There is another alternative. Laser Spine Institute is at the forefront of minimally invasive spinal procedures that are aimed at decompressing the painful pressure on nerves in the upper, middle or lower spine. Our outpatient procedures have a very high success rate and result in much faster recovery periods than traditional open spine surgeries. Contact us today for a free review of your MRI or CT scan.