The spine comprises of three main sections divided according to sets of vertebrae. These sections are divided as follows.
The cervical spine is the top section of the spine and comprises of the vertebrae C1-C7. The thoracic spine corresponds to the middle back and includes the vertebrae numbered T1-T12. The lumbar spine is the lowermost section of the spine, spanning five vertebrae numbered L1-L5.
At the bottom of the lumbar spine, the lowermost vertebrae (L5) is joined with the sacrum (S1) through a lumboscaral joint.
In-between each vertebra there is an intervertebral disc, a stucture made out of two layers, meant to provide cushioning for the vertebrae. This spinal disc is also present between the L5 S1, and sometimes this can be affected by various factors and cause painful symptoms.
While it may be tempting to avoid physical activities altogether to prevent the pain from getting worse, staying active can be beneficial for maintaining spinal health and mobility. However, individuals with L5 S1 pain need to engage in safe exercises that do not exacerbate their condition.
Symptoms of L5-S1 Pain
When this area of the spine experiences issues, it can lead to a range of symptoms, including:
- Lower back pain and hip pain. Pain in the lower back, pelvis, or legs is a common complaint for individuals with L5-S1 pain, most commonly caused by conditions such as L5 S1 disc bulge or lumbar disc herniation.
- Sciatica. Compression of the sciatic nerve can lead to sciatic pain that often radiates down the buttocks and legs.
- Muscle weakness in the lower back and legs, affecting balance and mobility.
- Numbness and tingling in the lower back, hips, or legs.
Causes of L5-S1 Pain
Hip pain or low back pain in the L5 S1 region can arise due to factors such as herniated disks, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, poor posture, nerve compression, spinal compression.
What activities are safe for L5-S1 disc pain sufferers?
While individuals with such pain should be cautious with physical activities, staying active is vital for maintaining strength and flexibility. Some safe L5 S1 exercises include:
- Low impact activities such as walking, which allow the person to stay active without putting excessive strain on the lower back.
- Swimming. Swimming or water aerobics can provide a gentle, full-body workout while reducing pressure on the spine.
- Yoga or other gentle stretching exercises that can help improve flexibility and core strength.
- Decompressing the spine with the Backrack device. These are some of the best exercises to reduce pain in this region of the back as they focus on allowing the discs to heal, and restore the natural shape and length of the spine.