Normally, there are five lumbar spine vertebrae in the spine, designated L1 – L5, though occasionally some individuals have four and some have six. These vertebrae are the largest of the entire spine because they are forced to support the most weight and because this is the region charged with the task of joining the two halves of the body.
The lumbar spine vertebrae and the intervertebral discs between the vertebrae are susceptible to damage, not only because of their weight load, but also because of the enormous number of movements that the lower back is involved in. The lumbar spine vertebrae are also peculiar in that the spinal nerves that project out of these vertebrae send signals to a variety of different sensory organs, including the legs. For this reason, lumbar pain can be felt in the buttocks, thighs, calves, feet, and toes.
The areas of our body that are controlled by certain spinal nerves can be divided into myotomes and dermatomes. A dermatome is an area of skin supplied by a single nerve, whereas a myotome is a group of muscles supplied by a single spinal nerve root.
If you are experiencing symptoms of pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness in any of these areas, you should make an appointment with your primary care physician. After an MRI, a thorough physical exam, and a series of questions about your symptoms, your physician may diagnose you with a lumbar spine vertebrae condition. If conservative pain relief treatments prove ineffective, the experts at Laser Spine Institute (LSI) may be able to help. Contact us for a free review of your MRI or CT scan, or for more information about our minimally invasive endoscopic spine procedures that have helped tens of thousands of people rediscover a life without pain.