Spondylosis at the L5 Vertebra
L5 spondylosis, which refers to the general degeneration of the spine at the junction of the L5 and S1 vertebrae, is a common place for deterioration to occur. The abbreviations L5 and S1 are used to refer to the last vertebra of the lumbar spine (lower back) and the top of the sacral spine (the fused segment right above the tailbone).
It is important to keep in mind that spondylosis itself is not a diagnosis or the specific cause of lower back pain. Rather, spinal weakening that comes with spondylosis can be pinpointed to degenerative spine conditions like facet disease, degenerative disc disease, ruptured discs, disc protrusions, bone spurs, spondylolisthesis or spinal stenosis.
Sciatica and its connection to spondylosis
When spondylosis leads to spinal abnormalities around the L5 and S1 vertebrae, the sciatic nerve can experience compression. The sciatic nerve, which begins among the five vertebrae of the lumbar spine, is the longest and widest nerve in the entire body. As the sciatic nerve travels down through the pelvic area, splits and continues down each leg, it innervates the buttocks, hip joints, legs, feet and toes. Compression of this nerve gives rise to radicular pain that can travel throughout all of these areas. Sciatica symptoms include:
- Burning Pain
Conservative treatments for spondylosis at L5
Initially, treatment for almost any degenerative spine condition will focus on relieving pain, stiffness and other discomfort. Treatment focuses on symptom relief because most spinal degeneration cannot be reversed or healed. Many spinal joint or disc problems will stop hurting over a period of months or weeks through the use of non-surgical treatment methods, so work with your physician to design a multidisciplinary plan that works for you. A physician may suggest hot or cold therapy, physical therapy, aquatic therapy or pain medication to address spondylosis.
Only a small percentage of individuals with common degenerative spinal conditions will require surgery to achieve pain relief. If you fall into this category, you should know that traditional open spine operations are not your only options. Laser Spine Institute offers a variety of minimally invasive decompression and fusion procedures for spondylosis patients. Contact us today for a review of your MRI or CT scan.