We have 5 lumbar vertebrae (L1-L5) and they’re the biggest of all our vertebrae. They take on all the weight of the upper segments, which is why the lower vertebrae most often (L4-L5 and L5-C1) give us the most problems. The lumbar segment provides mobility to the trunk and the lower limbs during walking, running, etc.
Due to all the vertebrae, nerves and muscles in the body it’s sometimes difficult for our brains to identify the exact cause of pain. Nearly all of us have experienced pain in this area and this is one of the most common causes for taking leave from work.
Usually, some physical activity (lifting a heavy object incorrectly, prolonged incorrect posture, a direct injury, sometimes even just bending down) is the cause of the discomfort. The most common symptoms are:
The sitting pose increases the pressure between lumbar vertebrae and may lead to degenerative changes over time. A large number of people either twist to the left, right or the front when sitting, which puts extra pressure on the spinal column and could lead to heavy muscle imbalance. This is why it’s good to get up more often from the chair when sitting (every 20-30 mins), to drink water and do a few stretching exercises if you feel discomfort.
When the pain in your lower back doesn’t go away after a few days it’s a good idea to see your doctor and if necessary do a scan or MRI in the lumbar region. Along with medication, it is recommended to take a course in physiotherapy to treat the pain. The equipment aims to reduce swelling and pain; manual therapy aims to improve mobility in the lumbar segment and the condition of the soft tissue and a programme of exercises and stretching is devised afterwards. The patient’s active participation is very important in the process.