Lumbar Disc Problem

“Low backache” is perhaps the most common complaint nowadays. Almost every person is facing this or has faced this pain. And many of the others have faced the problem with the “radiation of pain in lower limb”- medically what we know as Sciatica. These two things- backache and sciatica, both conditions occur because of the Lumbar Disc Problem.

Once you have got your Xray or MRI, you start wondering-

Why have you got this problem?

What does make this region so susceptible for the disc diseases?

Where this lumbar spine is located?

Which types of bones are there in this region…

I understand that your queries are innumerable and you also want to know the – ultimate –

Can my Lumbar disc disease be cured without any surgical interventions, through Ayurveda?

Surely, here we will discuss different problems of the lumbar spine. But before that you need to know a lot of different things about the lumbar region. This will help you to better understand the problem.

lumbar disc disease

All about Lumbar Spine

Here are few facts and important features of the lumbar spine, which we all need to know-

  • Lumbar is a word which means- Lower back.
  • Lumbar spine is the second last part of the spine.
  • This part is located just above the joint between spine and hip bone (Sacroiliac joint).
  • Among all spinal disc problems, the lumbar disc disease is the most common one.
  • There is an inward curvature in lumbar spine and that is known as- Lumbar Lordosis/ Lumbar Lordotic Curvature.
  • This curvature ensures- flexibility of the spine.

Where is the lumbar located in the human body?

We can easily palpate the wings of the hip joint (the iliac crest) in the lower back. These are hard bones. The line in which these crests are present- the same line intersects the L4 (the fourth one of the Lumbar Spine). So we have 3 more bones above this line and 1 below this line!!

You can visualise the location in this image below-

In simple words- the lumbar spine makes- the lower back. This is the reason in every low backache- your lumbar spine involves.

How many bones are there in Lumbar spine?

Lumbar vertebrae are 5 in number. These are famous as L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5 bones.

These bones differ from dorsal and sacral bones in shape and structures.

Where we are discussing the number of bones, we need to know about two common conditions that appear in the Lumbar region. These are – Lumbarisation and Sacralisation.

When the first sacral bone- develops as a lumbar bone. This condition is- lumbarisation.
In this, the last lumbar bone (L5) develops as a sacral bone and doesn’t participate in the activities of the lumbar bones.

In these cases – the count will be 4 or 6, for these lumbar bones!

What is Lumbar Lordotic Curvature?

When you lie down on our stomach- you can feel a slope/curve in your lower back (this applies to the healthier people), the same curve is – lordosis.

Because this part of the spine is supposed to move in all directions, therefore nature has provided us with an inward curvature in this part of the spine. This curvature gives us suspension, flexibility and stability. The same curve of the lumbar spine is – Lumbar lordotic Curvature or Lumbar lordosis.

This Lumbar Curvature ensures more space for the discs in this region of the spine and helps us in performing daily activities.

Lumbar vertebrae connects with each other with facet joints and ligaments.

Functions of the Lumbar Spine

There are certain functions where lumbar spine involves in the activity. And because of these functions only, the lumbar spine remains at risk of developing different problems.

Here are these activities of the lumbar spine-

Allows Free Movements

We can move our body – torso- in all directions because of the lumbar spine only. The trunk can move – backward-forward- to the sides because of the lumbar spine only.

Lumbar spine is self efficient for most of these activities and doesn’t need any external support for these activities. This is because of the shape, size and structure of the lumbar vertebrae.

Protection to Neural Tissues

The terminal part of the spinal cord- ends on the L1 vertebrae- the conus. And lower to the L1- cauda equina – group of nerves travels to the lower part- to make different nerves.

These delicate tissues of the spinal cord, needs proper protection along with the movement. Lumbar spine is well equipped in both these activities.

Stabilisation of the upper body

We are sitting, standing, walking or running- in all conditions, we need stability of the upper body. This stability comes from the lumbar spine.

When we need to make a column stable and working- we need broader base for that. This is the reason nature has made these all vertebrae – broader and bigger in size. Only because of this- lumbar spine helps in holding the body in position.

Because- lumbar spine is responsible for the movement and stabilisation at same time, therefore the strain of muscles remains very high on this region. This continuous pressure makes the lumbar spine vulnerable for all the problems in this region.

Now we will discuss the lumbar disc diseases and afterwards you will come to know about the treatment possibilities for lumbar disc disease.

Lumbar Disc Disease

Lumbar spine has big bones (vertebrae) so discs are also big in size. Because, these discs are supposed to work under pressure- these are strong enough too.

Discs are jelly like structures. These are supposed to help the spine in proper movements. The jelly remains covered with many fibres. These fibres help to keep the jelly in place.

On every junction of two bones for example L1-L2 or L5-S1 junctions- nerve roots emerges. These nerve roots combine together and supply to destined locations. From lumbar region, these all nerve travels to the lower part of the body- leg, foot, knee.

Disc helps in smooth exit of these nerves. Because this is the disc alone which keep two bones apart and help these with movement. When in any case- height of disc reduces- the gap between the bones reduces. And this leads to the displacement of the jelly from its place. This same displacement is what we know slip disc. Because this disc slips in lumbar region, therefore we name it slip disc in lumbar region.

Slip Disc in Lumbar Spine

When any problem occurs with the lumbar discs- this is known as lumbar disc disease. Basically this term is a cumulative term, which defines- all possible disc disease like bulged disc, degenerative disc etc. Because all these disc problems cover under one heading- slip disc. So here we will use the same word for main heading-

When this pressure- dislocates the jelly- that leads to disc problems. This condition appears as a result of the several steps, which happens one by one.

The whole process starts with loss of the nutrition and that leads to the bulged disc/herniated disc etc. Here are brief about these conditions-

Degenerative Disc disease in Lumbar region

This is the first step of any problem. When, muscles keep on straining the lumbar spine. This leads to the pressure on the spinal vertebra in lumbar region.

The disc get its nutrition from cartilages. These are endplate cartilages, located on both vertebrae below and above of the disc. The pressure sheds off these cartilages so the nutrition too. This leads to the degenerative disc disease in lumbar region.

Desiccated disc in Lumbar spine

When nutrition decays, the tissue sheds off. This is the reason- desiccation (fall in terms of plants) comes in existence. This is what we know as desiccated disc.

The disc becomes more flaccid and tissue starts moving to the sides. So this is the first step with slippage of the internal jelly.

Lumbar Bulged disc

The moving jelly from the center- makes it “bulged” to a side. This bulge can originally lead to the compression of the nerve roots.

Upto this stage, the external fibres remain intact. There is no direct damage to the disc in terms of rupture. So bulged disc is the third level of the problem.

Herniated Lumbar Disc

Herniation literally means- to pop out. This is the condition where annular fibres cannot hold the pressure so these rupture and internal jelly comes out in the canal. This is a condition which causes the neural compression which leads to the severe symptoms.

These all conditions lead to set of symptoms through which we can get an idea what is the problem exactly. Most of the symptoms occur because of the neural compression.

Nerve Compression in Lumbar Spine

Because a lot of neural tissues are located in the spine. So when something bad happens with the disc. The main impact of the slip disc in the lumbar spine is- neural.

When a disc bulges, it causes two types of compression. The one is the just same nerve root compression that belongs to the level. And second, might be the next nerve root. This happens because the disc bulges in two ways. When this bulge occurs to lateral sides- this impacts the same level. And second is when this compression is in the middle of the canal- Canal Stenosis.

  1. Traversing Nerve Root: When disc herniation or disc bulge is in circumferential and more on posterior side, this impacts the next nerve- traversing means which is travelling down in the column.
  2. Exiting Nerve Root Compression: As we know every disc gives space to a nerve root of the same level. When disc bulge is more on the lateral side (towards the sides) it is – exiting nerve root compression.

This translates in the following way-

The Disc levelTraversing NerveExiting Nerve Root
L1-L2 DiscL2 nerveL1 nerve
L2-L3 DiscL3 nerve root L2 nerve Root
L3-L4 DiscL4 nerve rootL3 nerve Root
L4-L5 DiscL5 nerve rootL4 nerve Root
L5-S1 DiscS1 nerve L5 nerve Root

Lumbar Disc Problem and Sciatica

The main thing where we diagnose the lumbar disc problem is radiating pain in the lower limb. When pain travels in the lower limb everybody thinks it is sciatica. But this is not 100% true in the case of medical science. This is not sciatica alone. There are two main nerves that come from the lumbar region. These are the Femoral Nerve and Sciatica Nerve.

Femoral Nerve: Femoral nerve has its roots from L2 to L4. This is the nerve of the thigh and travels up to the knee joint.

Sciatic Nerve: The nerve is famous more as a disease- sciatica has nothing to do with the femoral. This nerve emerges from L4 to S1 levels.

The main thing in these two nerves is- Femoral nerve is more about the anterior side and the Sciatic nerve is about the backside of the leg. Pain in either of these nerves occurs when the nerve is stretched.

For example, when we bend the hip with the straight leg as we do in the SLR test- this stretches the Sciatic nerve and relaxes the Femoral. So when pain increases by SLR test this is about Sciatic nerve root from the lumbar disc which is affected. Opposite to this if the pain is relieved when doing SLR this indicates- Femoral Nerve.

But when lumbar disc problem is at the level of L4 nerve root- it can give symptoms of both the nerves- sciatic as well as femoral nerve. Because this L4 lumbar nerve root is common with both the nerves.

Symptoms of Slip disc in lumbar spine

Symptoms of lumbar disc disease

Symptoms of the lumbar disc problem can vary. According to the location of the slipped disc and severity too. So here we are just discussing the general conditions, not the specific symptoms with specific lumbar discs-

  • Low back ache
  • Stiffness in the lower back
  • Radiation of the pain in lower leg.
  • Pain and stiffness in the calf muscles.
  • Problem in walking.
  • Inability in standing for long.
  • Pain increases while sitting.
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Sciatica pain.

To know more details about the Symptoms of the Spinal Disc Problem (click on the link)

Different nerve roots show different signs and symptoms in the leg. Right from L1-L2 to L5-S1 discs they behave differently

Now we need to know what does Ayurveda says about the problems of the spinal disc in the lumbar region.

Ayurveda treatment for lumbar disc disease

Ayurveda about Lumbar Disc Disease

Ayurveda recognizes biological activities, more than anatomical structures.

Actions are more important to Ayurveda.

The lower back, especially the lumbar region is an area of importance for Ayurveda. Because this place relates to the most amazing and interesting dosha- Vata Dosha. So this whole thing becomes important to Ayurveda when we talk about the Lumbar Spine.

In Ayurveda, everything relates to doshas. Doshas decide both simple biology (health) and corrupt working of the body (diseases). So it makes sense to consider Doshas for everything.

These doshas are located in particular places. You can say these as headquarters of these doshas. Lower back/lumbar region is the headquarter for Vata Dosha. More on this the main subtype of the Vata dosha- Apana Vayu, resides in this place.

The lumbar region in Ayurveda is named as- “Kati“.

So this makes sense from Ayurveda’s point of view- why everybody talks about the Vata dosha when it comes to lumbar slip disc.

We need to dig further into this.

Vata Dosha and Lumbar Slip Disc

Doshas are not something which we can look at. These express through their activities. And all these activities depend on the character of these biological markers of Ayurveda!!

Vata is dry

Vata involves in everything where movement involves. Because the lower back and lumbar spine are all about movements therefore Vata resides there.

The main side effect of the movement is- dryness.

And dryness brings stiffness.

Stiffness leads to sore muscles which in-truns the pressure on the spinal discs in the lumbar region and these discs bulge, herniate or you can simply say- slips.

Why lumbar problems are more than just backache

Modern medicines might not be able to answer this query- why lower backache (with just one desiccated disc) bothers much to a patient. But Ayurveda has an answer for this.

Because Vata disturbs in its own den, therefore symptoms of the problem with the lumbar disc are complicated. These unexplainable symptoms from allopathy are-

  • Constipation
  • Flatulence
  • Bloating
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Inability to focus on things
  • Tiredness in whole body.

Here, Ayurveda explains in a better way. Because Ayurveda has better insight about the things, better than the modern surgical techniques.

So Ayurveda should have better answer for the problem too. Have look on that too that what Ayurveda recommends for the treatment of the condition of lumbar disc disease.

Ayurveda Treatment for Lumbar Disc Disease

Seriously, Ayurveda has better understanding and better treatment plans for the lumbar disc disease, likewise the better insightful understanding of the problem.

Ayurveda work two ways in a disease-

  1. To rectify the root cause of the problem.
  2. By balancing the properties of the doshas.

Here both the things work together for the treatment of the condition.

Here is the list-

  • In case of degeneration: We need to stop the degeneration process and need to replenish the discs in a better way. So that we can reverse the process.
  • Where undue pressure is there: In such cases the main thing is to release the pressure from the disc.
  • Stiffness leading to the problem: Where we have problem like stiffness and soreness of the muscles, we need to make these smooth.
  • When toxins build up in the muscles: Because a lot of citric acid depositions in the muscles- that leads to the soreness of the muscles. So in this case we need to remove these toxins from the muscles.

How does Sukhayu Ayurved treat lumbar slip disc

At Sukhayu Ayurved, we believe in following the Ayurveda text and that too- as it is.

You need not to go for any spinal surgeries in case of Lumbar disc problem.

Because at Sukhayu Ayurved, we work more on the root cause of the problem so that whatever problem you have in lumbar region should resolve permanently. We need your MRI reports which can give us an idea about your problem. We will study your case in a proper way and will let you to know what can we do for your lumbar disc problem.