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The Spine: Part Three

In the last two months, we have discussed and learned about the different sections of the spine: the cervical and thoracic regions. This month, we go over the lumbosacral region.

The lumbar and sacral regions of the spine, often referred to as the lumbosacral region, are the lowest parts of the spine. The spine cord descends from the brain stem, down through the cervical and thoracic regions of the spine, and then into the lumbar region, where it branches out into a structure called the cauda equina. The cauda equina is named as such because it resembles a horse's tail. It is a sack of nerve roots at the lower end of the spinal

cord. This section innervates your hips, buttocks, legs, and feet. The lumbar region consists of 5 vertebrae, labeled L1-L5. The sacrum is the section after L5. When we are born, the sacrum has 5 vertebral bodies. As we grow and age, the bones fuse together to form the adult sacrum.

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body and is formed by the union of 5 nerve roots from the lumbar spine (Sciatic Nerve and Sciatica). A common problem some people have with their lower back is called sciatica. This is an inflammation of the sciatic nerve, due to injury or displaced vertebrae which put pressure on the nerve. Sciatica has several causes, such as herniated discs or narrowing of the opening in the bone through which the nerve passes, caused "stenosis."

Our spine from top to bottom is a wondrous, intricate structure. Spinal health is important throughout our lives. Your lifestyle, hobbies, and sports can affect the health of your spine. Proper exercise, avoiding injury, and your chiropractor can help you maintain a healthy spinal structure!

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