The last part of this three-piece series is about the final section of the spine, the lumbar region.
This section of the spine is located below the cervical and thoracic sections and is made up of five vertebrae known as the L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5.
Injuries and subluxations to the spine can be severe but are not typically life-threatening.
Early treatment is important to the prognosis of lumbar spine injuries because these five vertebrae contain precious nerves and spinal cord tissue that control communication between the brain and the legs.
Therefore, damage to the spine subsequently has the largest effects on the hips, groin, and lower abdominal muscles.
If you are having trouble sleeping because of your back pain, here are the Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain.
What Kind of Symptoms are Experienced After Experiencing Damage to the L1-L5 Vertebrae?
Symptoms are often experienced as a result of any type of spinal injury, but damage to this section of the spine often results in lesser injury than that of the cervical spine.
These injuries can be severe, but they are usually not life-threatening.
However, early treatment is crucial to the prognosis of lumbar spine injuries and subluxations.
Below is a List of the Most Likely Symptoms:
- Difficulty Breathing
- Minor Varicose Veins
- Bladder Troubles
- Menstrual Troubles such as painful or irregular periods
- Bed Wetting
- Change of Life Symptoms
- Knee Pains
- Sciatic Nerve Pain
- Difficult, Painful or Frequent Urination
- Poor Circulation in the Legs
- Swollen Ankles
- Weak Ankles and Arches
- Cold Feet
- Weakness in the Legs
- Leg Cramps
Patients that have suffered severe damage may experience these more serious conditions,
- Requirement of a manual wheelchair for full or part-time use
- Walking Ability using Braces
- Lack of Bladder or Bowel Control
The Most Common Causes and Risk Factors
A spinal cord injury may result from damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, or disks of the spinal column or to the spinal cord itself.
A traumatic spinal cord injury may stem from a sudden, traumatic blow to your spine that fractures, dislocates, crushes or compresses one or more of your vertebrae.
It may also result from a gunshot or knife wound that penetrates and cuts your spinal cord.
Additional damage usually occurs over days or weeks because of bleeding, swelling, inflammation, and fluid accumulation in and around your spinal cord.
A nontraumatic spinal cord injury may be caused by arthritis, cancer, inflammation, infections or disk degeneration of the spine.
Injuries are usually caused by one of the following:
- Motor vehicle accidents. Auto and motorcycle accidents account for almost half of the new spinal cord injuries each year.
- Falls. A spinal cord injury after age 65 is most often caused by a fall.
- Acts of violence. Over 13% of spinal cord injuries result from violent encounters, most commonly involving gunshot wounds or knife wounds.
- Sports and recreation. Athletic activities, such as impact sports and diving in shallow water, cause about 10% of spinal cord injuries.
- Alcohol. Alcohol use is a factor in about 1 out of every 4 spinal cord injuries.
- Diseases. Cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis and inflammation of the spinal cord also can cause spinal cord injuries.
Emergency signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury after an accident may include:
- Extreme back pain or pressure in your neck, head or back
- Weakness, incoordination or paralysis in any part of your body
- Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in your hands, fingers, feet or toes
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Difficulty with balance and walking
- Impaired breathing after injury
- An oddly positioned or twisted neck or back
Although a spinal cord injury is usually the result of an accident and can happen to anyone, certain factors may predispose you to a higher risk of sustaining a spinal cord injury, including:
- Being male. Spinal cord injuries affect a disproportionate number of men, with males accounting for 80% of traumatic spinal cord injuries in the United States.
- Being between the ages of 16 and 30. You're most likely to suffer a traumatic spinal cord injury if you're between the ages of 16 and 30.
- Being older than 65. Falls cause most injuries in older adults.
- Engaging in risky behavior. Diving into too-shallow water or playing sports without wearing the proper safety gear or taking proper precautions may cause spinal cord injuries. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries for people under 65.
- Having a bone or joint disorder. A relatively minor injury can cause a spinal cord injury if you have another disorder that affects your bones or joints, such as arthritis or osteoporosis.
The Lumbar Spine and Potential Injury Symptoms
Chiropractic Care For Spinal Cord Injuries
Some patients suffering from a spinal cord injury may benefit from chiropractic care.
Although there are many causes of traumatic spinal cord injury, car accidents and falls are two of the most common.
When the spinal cord is compressed, twisted sideways or pulled, this can impair blood supply, stretch tissues, pinch nerves, and damage ligaments, bone, and discs.
Chiropractic care can be tremendously helpful in reducing neck, back, lower back, and joint pain associated with rotation, compression, and hyperextension that lead to a spinal cord injury.
This includes biomechanical problems associated with whiplash, herniated discs, bruising, reduced mobility, and misalignment of the spinal cord.
Every patient is unique, but if you've suffered a severe spinal cord injury, it's generally recommended to wait at least six months after diagnosis to allow the injury to stabilize before seeking chiropractic care.
Chiropractic treatment can be utilized to help speed up the recovery in a mild spinal cord injury by aligning the vertebra in the spinal column.
This helps alleviate pressure on the spinal cord and improve blood flow, which in turn reduces pain and encourages healing.
While chiropractors perform spinal manipulation to treat subluxations, or misalignment of the spine, they also employ a variety of techniques to relieve pain and improve mobility.
These modalities include:
- Massage therapy to help minimize inflammation of the soft tissue surrounding the nerves
- Applied pressure and hands-on adjustments of the vertebrae
- Cold and heat treatment on affected areas to increase circulation and reduce inflammation
- Recommendations for rehabilitative exercises to stretch and strengthen
- Counseling on nutrition to help the body heal from within
- Lifestyle recommendations
Chiropractors do not prescribe medications or painkillers and instead focus on a holistic approach to treating musculoskeletal problems.
A treatment plan will be devised after a physical examination is completed.
Contact The Arrowhead Clinic For Chiropractic Care
If you have been in an accident and are suffering from symptoms as a result of a spine injury, you need to contact the professionals at Arrowhead Clinic now so they can help reduce your pain and aid your recovery and wellness.
The Doctors of Chiropractic at our Georgia Clinic have been helping those who are suffering from an injury or pain condition for nearly 40 years.
Our doctors will perform an in-depth physical exam including an x-ray, and they have the skills and expertise needed to help with your recovery.
Chiropractic care is invaluable for many of our patients. If you would like to discuss how our Georgia Chiropractors can help you, click on the link below for a free consultation today.
Click on the link below for a free consultation about your spinal cord injury with our experienced chiropractor.