Low Back (Lumbar Spine)

Low Back (Lumbar Spine)

The lumbar, or lower spine, literally means pertaining to the abdominal segment of the torso, between the diaphragm and the pelvis. The low back region contains five vertebrae which are generally considered the largest and strongest bones in the movable part of the spinal column, Running through each lumbar vertebra is a nerve root, many of which form together in what is called the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs down the legs and into the feet. This area is often associated with low back injuries as damage to the low back often causes numbness, tingling and an electrical sensation into the knees, calves, feet and toes.

workers compensation lawyerThe experienced lumbar injury workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt understand that even small low back injuries cause debilitating pain and disability. Approximately 90 percent of low back injuries occur at the lowest three levels of the spine called the L-4, L-5 and S-1 (sacral region). Typically, some portion of the central, soft, jelly like substance (nucleus pulpous) is pushed out of its alignment and places pressure on the nerves which emerge from the spine.

Many workers’ compensation doctors will downplay the severity of a damaged disk and refer to the injury as a small bulge or protrusion. The dedicated West Palm Beach lumbar workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt deal with these types of doctors on a daily basis and can help injured employees when their assigned doctor’s refuse to correctly diagnose a herniated disk or provide the medical treatment they deserve.

A herniated disk may occur in a fall, a lifting accident, or gradually over time due to repetitive trauma or use of the lumbar region. Herniate means to “protrude through an abnormal body opening.” Many radiologists and orthopedic surgeons now refer to these types of spine injuries as an extruded disk rather than a herniated disk to minimize any confusion as to the degree of damage.

A bulging disk refers to a smaller portion of the jelly like substance that sticks out and onto the nerve roots. These injuries are less severe, and the treatment less intrusive, but still can cause debilitating pain and discomfort.

Typical symptoms of a lumbar injury include weakness in one or both of the legs, pain shooting down the lower extremity, numbness or tingling anywhere from the hip down the leg into the toes and either an electrical or burning sensation.

Nerve irritation can also occur when chemicals contained in the soft cushioning portions between the vertebrae leak into the spine. This chemical is actually an irritant and the body reacts to this material by producing pain in the affected area.

The most effective diagnostic device for detecting a Lumbar Disc problem is MRI. An MRI will reveal damage to the Discs, while an X-ray or CT scan will simply reveal damage to the bones.

Treatment for Disk Injury can range from rest, pain medication, muscle relaxers, physical therapy, medication, traction, chiropractic manipulation, injections, or surgery.

If you believe you have a work-related lumbar injury call one of the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt today.

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