by Denise Müller, Grad. Sports Scientist
The lower section of the spine is known as the lumbar spine (LS).
In humans, this part of the spine is made up of five vertebrae. Walking upright puts extreme stress on that particular region. The weight of the torso and any other weight we might be carrying, must be supported by this section of the spine.
And the stress doesn’t end there: this area is on constant stand-by to support and sustain every rotational movement of the upper body.
The function of the lumbar spine is divided into several levels of movement. The majority of these consist of bending and straightening, as well as side to side movements.
A healthy lumbar spine will display a slight curvature (lordosis) when viewed laterally. Should this curvature be more pronounced, then we speak of a “sway back” (hyperlordosis). Patients, in which the curvature has flattened, display a “flat back” (hypolordosis). Targeted and well-balanced training of the entire upper body is recommended to prevent either of these to manifest.
Because of the constant stress of everyday life and extensive flexibility, the lumbar spine is very vulnerable to wear and injury.
Back pain in this region is a frequent result and can manifest itself in a variety of ways.
Lumbago, for example, is caused by the sudden irritation of the nerve root or a blockage of the intervertebral joints. This condition can lead to a lot of pain and severe restriction of mobility.
Lumbosciatica is the combination of back pain with pain radiating into the legs. We speak of sciatica, if the pain is felt in the legs only, but the cause of the pain is in the spinal region.
A herniated disk in this region is another frequent symptom.
Targeted training of the spinal region combined with a well-balanced regime for the all muscle groups in the upper body, as well as swimming and improved ergonomics in the workplace will help alleviate stress on the spine.