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The lumbar spine is the lower portion of the back. It is also sometimes referred to as the lumbar vertebrae and is the largest area of the back that possesses the ability to move freely. The lumbar spine is made up of five vertebrae and all of the discs that are located between these bones.
The vertebral column begins at the neck with the cervical vertebrae. Then moving down further on the back, the majority of the back is called the thoracic vertebrae. In the lower area of the back are the lumbar vertebrae.
The lumbar spine is very sophisticated in the way it is designed. It is essentially what makes it possible for the upper and lower body to connect to each other. Besides all of the many bones it is made up of, the lower spine area is also composed of a network of nerves.
The spine contains 24 vertebrae in total. Doctors and chiropractors use a special code whereby they number each one of the vertebrae for easier reference when patients come to them complaining of back pain. There are five vertebrae that make up the lower back: L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5. These vertebrae fall victim to aches and pains more often than any others due to the fact that they carry the brunt of an individual’s body weight. This is the area where the most stress is exerted on the spine.
Back pain, and in particular lower back pain, is one of the most common health complaints to afflict both men and women alike. Back pain in the lumbar spine can be caused by muscle strain, while in other instances it can be symptomatic of a more serious problem such as a herniated disc or the start of arthritis. Muscle strain in the lumbar spine is very often caused by a strain due to rigorous exercise or overexerting a muscle that is not often used.
In order to relieve the pain once it sets in, a person should rest his or her back as much as possible and apply an ice pack to it. He or she also might want to take an over-the-counter remedy, such as ibuprofen. If the pain does not show any improvement after a couple of days to a week, or if it continues to get worse instead of better, then it is time to pay a visit to a physician or chiropractor to find out what is going on.
@SarahSon - I tried acupuncture for my lumbar spine pain. I don't know if my experience is typical of most, but I did not notice relief right away.
After several treatments, I did notice a difference in my pain, and it was more manageable. The small prick of the needles is really nothing compared to the nagging, chronic pain of your back.
My lumbar spine degeneration has been going on for several years. The acupuncture helps with the pain, but does not slow down the degeneration of my spine.
Eventually I may have to have some kind of lumbar spine surgery. I continue to get treatments about every 4 weeks, but can tell the relief is not as great as it was when I first started.
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