The sacrum (or sacral region) consists of five fused vertebrae toward the base of the spine. Because the sacral vertebrae are fused, the region looks like a triangular, bony plate between the pelvic bones and is generally wider and shorter in women than in men.
As the back wall of the pelvic girdle, the sacrum is connected to the hips by the sacroiliac joints. Nerves associated with these joints can become compressed in the presence of a sacral fracture or a degenerative condition such as osteoarthritis. The nerves that originate in the sacral region send sensory impulses to these areas of the body:
- Reproductive organs
Fractures of the sacrum are rare, unless there is a related condition, such as osteoporosis, which would weaken the skeletal structure.
Leg or lower back pain called sciatica could originate in the sacral region, because a portion of the sciatic nerve exits the spinal cord from the upper sacral vertebrae. A pinched nerve resulting from a herniated disc or bulging disc in the sacral region could cause pain, tingling, or numbness in either leg, as well as chronic lower back pain.
Chronic pain originating from the sacrum can be treated conservatively, using physical therapy, pain medicine or other techniques. If pain persists, your physician may present surgery as an option.
The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute have a variety of minimally invasive, outpatient procedures available as an alternative to traditional open back surgery. Contact Laser Spine Institute for a free review of your MRI or CT scan, and to learn how our advanced techniques can help you find relief from pain.