Osteochondrosis of the lumbar region

Lumbar osteochondrosis is a neurological disease of the spine that affects people of all ages, in which degenerative-dystrophic changes occur in the lumbar spine. They affect the intervertebral discs, articular cartilage, bone tissue.

pain in the lumbar region with osteochondrosis

The cause of the disease is the serious stress that the lower back experiences every day - when walking, sit, lift weights. It is very important to start treating osteochondrosis as soon as possible to avoid possible complications. Lumbar osteochondrosis is a rather complex disease that requires complex therapy, under the supervision of an experienced specialist.

Key Features

Lumbosacral osteochondrosis is a degenerative-dystrophic disorder of the articular cartilage of the spine, which is located in the lumbar spine. In other words, this disease means the destruction of cartilaginous discs located between the vertebral bodies. The mobility of the vertebrae decreases, the distance between them decreases, compression (compression) of the nerve endings occurs.

The lumbosacral spine suffers more often than others for the fact that it is on it that the maximum load falls. In 80% of patients who complain of back pain, doctors diagnose osteochondrosis precisely. The disease begins with the breakdown of glycoproteins in connective tissue, it is these compounds that give it elasticity. Intervertebral discs are the first to suffer from this process.

Each disc consists of a nucleus and an outer fibrosus ring. After the core dries, the disc loses its elastic properties and the fibrous ring cracks and delamines. Through the gaps in the ring, the nucleus can fall out (a hernia is formed).

As a result of these processes, the load on the vertebrae increases significantly, the body responds to this with a sharp increase in bone tissue formation in places with increased load.

The vertebrae are affected

The lumbar region consists of five vertebrae: L1-L5, the fifth vertebra is attached to the sacrum. The discs between them are most often affected in osteochondrosis.

There are several types of lumbosacral osteochondrosis, they differ in the location of the vertebrae.

  1. Upper lumbar disease (vertebrae 1, 2 and 3).
  2. Lower back disease (vertebrae 3, 4 and 5).
  3. Sacral osteochondrosis (localized in the sacral bones). This type of disease is very rare.
  4. Melting of sacrum bones and vertebrae.

Stages of development of lumbosacral osteochondrosis

There are four stages (sometimes three) of osteochondrosis of the lumbosacral region. Here they are:

  1. There are changes in its core and position.
  2. The destruction of the outer fibrous ring begins.
  3. After breaking the ring, the core falls off.
  4. Destructive processes affect the vertebrae, joints, ligaments.

In the first stage of lumbosacral osteochondrosis, a person feels a certain discomfort and pain in the lower back. It can be acute or painful in nature. There are spasms of muscles and blood vessels, problems in the functioning of organs.

Spasms of the vessels of the lower extremities can lead to atherosclerosis, bladder dysfunction.

In the second stage, due to the instability of the vertebrae, the back muscles are constantly tense. Patients complain of back fatigue, discomfort and insecurity.

In the third stage, the disc nucleus falls out of the fibrous ring and an intervertebral hernia is created. Fragments of a fallen disc capture the nerve roots that irritate internal organs, muscles, and areas of the skin. As a result, a change in the sensitivity of a certain area develops, a burning sensation, numbness and loss of sensitivity may develop. Nerve compression can lead to loss of motor function or muscle atrophy.

Depending on the area in which there is an innervation violation, doctors can tell exactly where the spine is damaged. If fragments of the disc fall into the spinal canal, the spinal cord is compressed. This often impairs the functioning of the pelvic organs and the motor function of the lower extremities.

In the fourth stage, there is a complete replacement of the disc tissue with dense connective tissue. There is some restoration of the supporting function of the spine, the pain decreases slightly, but its mobility and elasticity is lost.

The above stages are conditional because the development of the disease is very individual.

Symptoms: the body will show

Symptoms can be divided into main ones, accompanied by changes in the spine and appendages, which are associated with impaired innervation due to compressed nerves.


  • pain and numbness in the lower back. At first, it may be temporary and appear during physical exertion and movement. As they develop, they become permanent, may be sharp or painful, and appear even when you cough or sneeze;
  • fatigue and depression;
  • decreased sensitivity of the lower extremities;
  • Impaired mobility of the lower back;
  • curvature of the spine, lordosis.


  • sharp back pain;
  • deterioration of reflexes;
  • shots in the lower extremities, lameness;
  • muscle weakness;
  • decreased sweating;
  • feeling of coldness in the feet.

Depending on the localization of osteochondrosis, pain is observed in different parts of the body:

  • with damage to 1-2 vertebrae - in the inguinal region;
  • with damage to 3-4 vertebrae - in the lower part of the leg and in the thigh area;
  • with the loss of the 5th vertebra - in the sacrum, in the lower back.

How is lumbosacral osteochondrosis diagnosed?

Diagnosis begins with a detailed study of the patient. The doctor should listen carefully to the patient's complaints, detect the localization and intensity of pain, pay special attention to side effects (loss of skin sensitivity, impaired motor function).

The physician should track the development of symptoms over time, analyze the nature and effectiveness of previous treatment (or self-treatment). Also, the doctor should pay attention to the history, ask the patient about lifestyle, working conditions and previous illnesses.

Particular attention should be paid to posture, possible curvature of the spine. It is worth noting how the patient moves, the degree of muscle development.

The main diagnostic tool for lumbosacral osteochondrosis is radiography. MRI and computed tomography are used successfully.


The lumbosacral region has a number of unique characteristics. The spinal cord terminates at the level of the 12th thoracic vertebra-1 of the lumbar spine. In the lumbosacral region there are fibers of the spinal nerves, which are gathered in a bundle. The lumbar and sacral roots form the sciatic nerve.

The main feature of this section of the spine is a large load (dynamic and static), which it constantly experiences. This is why lumbar discs are consumed earlier.

Possible consequences

This disease is dangerous for its consequences:

  • damage to the knee and pelvic joints;
  • dysfunction of internal organs (problems with power in men and reproductive organs in women);
  • lumbago, sciatica and lumboischialgia;
  • spinal cord compression, which leads to impaired reflexes;
  • inflammation of the sciatic nerve.

Scientists still can not answer what exactly causes this disease. Or rather, which of the factors has the greatest impact on its development. Some researchers believe that lumbosacral osteochondrosis is the price a person pays to walk straight. Indeed, this disease is not observed in animals.

The factors that cause this disease can be divided into external and internal. Here are the main reasons that cause it:

  • serious spinal cord injury;
  • inheritance;
  • flat feet;
  • long standing;
  • posture disorders;
  • sedentary lifestyle;
  • excess body weight;
  • unbalanced diet.

Who is at risk

No one is immune to this disease. Hereditary factors determine a greater or lesser predisposition to it. However, a person's external factors and lifestyle have a major impact on the likelihood of developing this disease.

Another cause of illness is excessive exercise and injury.

Proper nutrition is important for the prevention of osteochondrosis: food should contain all the necessary ingredients, be rich in vitamins and trace elements.


Treatment can be surgical or conservative. If the disease is in the stage of emergence of intervertebral hernias, then surgical intervention is necessary. Conservative treatment includes the following methods:

  • drug therapy;
  • physiotherapy and spinal traction;
  • massage and manual therapy;
  • physiotherapy exercises.

Medication therapy includes anti-inflammatory drugs, pain relievers, muscle spasm relievers, and injection blockers. Chondroprotectors are also used, they reduce pain, promote the regeneration of damaged cartilage formations. In some cases, hormonal drugs are used.


Basic principles for the prevention of lumbosacral osteochondrosis:

  • preventing excessive load on the lower back;
  • strengthening of back muscles;
  • maintaining proper posture;
  • Physical activity;
  • proper nutrition;
  • adjustment of the rest regime;
  • timely treatment of other diseases of the spine.

Home treatments


There are fairly simple exercises that a person can perform independently at home. They are used for therapeutic and prophylactic purposes. Their main task is to strengthen the back muscles in order to partially discharge the spine.

exercise therapy

Therapeutic exercises are one of the main ways to treat osteochondrosis. Exercise helps strengthen the muscles, which removes some of the load from the spine. Improves blood circulation to tissues, including intervertebral discs. Therapeutic exercise helps relieve muscle tension, reduce pain.


Massage is an excellent treatment for lumbar osteochondrosis. Improves blood supply to tissues, reduces pain, relieves clamps, strengthens muscle corset.

Instead of an epilogue

Summarizing the above, it can be noted that this disease is a real "disease of the century" that threatens every modern person.

Lumbosacral osteochondrosis gives a person excruciating pain, it can turn into a person with a disability. It is very difficult to treat this disease, especially in advanced form.

The positive point is that it is in the power of each of us to avoid the development of osteochondrosis. All you have to do is take care of your spine: do not stress too much, watch your weight, lead a healthy lifestyle, eat normally, avoid injuries.

If you start to notice the first symptoms of osteochondrosis, consult a doctor. In the initial stages, this disease is treated quite easily. Take care of your spine so that even in old age the movements bring you joy and not discomfort.