Lumbar spine nerve roots
The five vertebrae in the lower back comprise the lumbar spine. At each vertebral level, lumbar spine nerve roots L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5 branch off from the spine and into the spinal canal. These nerve roots deliver sensory signals to the lower back, buttocks, legs and feet.
Lumbar spine nerve roots are often susceptible to being pinched or damaged due to the vulnerable nature of the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine is responsible for supporting much of the body’s weight, which means it needs to be able to flex, extend and pivot daily. After several years of these movements, the lumbar spine can begin to deteriorate, causing the lumbar spine nerve roots to become pinched and compressed.
Degenerative spine conditions that affect lumbar spine nerve roots
As the lumbar spine weakens, components of the spine can become damaged and move out of alignment, thus pinching a nearby nerve root. Common degenerative conditions that can impact the lumbar spine nerve roots include:
- Herniated disc
- Bulging disc
- Spinal stenosis
- Foraminal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Facet joint disease
- Adult degenerative scoliosis
As these conditions develop and press against a local nerve root, painful symptoms can occur. Because of the degenerative nature of these conditions, the symptoms will often occur gradually and worsen with time or certain movements.
Compression of the lumbar spine nerve roots can lead to the following symptoms:
- Numbness and tingling
- Pain that radiates down through your buttocks, legs and feet
- Muscle weakness
- Local pain at the site of the compression
- Difficulty walking
- Loss of bladder or bowel control — seek immediate medical attention
For the majority of people who experience lower back pain symptoms, conservative treatments are an effective method of pain relief. Your doctor can recommend a series of appropriate nonsurgical treatments for your condition.
Treatment for lumbar nerve compression
Many patients are able to find relief through nonsurgical treatments like pain medication, physical therapy and weight loss, among other conservative options. However, some individuals will not find conservative treatments effective and may consider surgery to relieve a pinched nerve root.
At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery that can help treat common spine conditions. Due to the shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of complication, our procedures are often the clinically appropriate first choice over traditional open back surgery.
Contact us for more information about nerve roots in the spine and to learn about the benefits of our minimally invasive spine surgery. We can provide you with a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures.