lumbar osteochondrosis

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 intervertebral discs, articular cartilage, bone tissue.

lower back pain with osteochondrosis

The cause of the condition is the serious stress that the lower back experiences on a daily basis - when walking, sitting, lifting weights. It is very important to start osteochondrosis treatment as early as possible to avoid possible complications. Lumbar osteochondrosis is a rather complex disease that requires complex therapy under the supervision of an experienced specialist.

main features

Lumbosacral osteochondrosis is a degenerative-dystrophic disorder in the articular cartilages of the spine, which are located in the lumbar spine. In other words, this disease means the destruction of the cartilaginous discs that are 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 due to the fact that it bears the maximum load. In 80% of patients who complain of back pain, doctors accurately diagnose osteochondrosis. The disease begins with the breakdown of glycoproteins in the 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 core and an outer fibrous ring. After the core dries, the disc loses its elastic properties and the annulus fibrosus cracks and flakes off. Through 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 marked increase in the formation of bone tissue at sites of increased load.

Which 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. Disease of the upper lumbar level (1, 2 and 3 vertebrae).
  2. Disease of the lower lumbar level (3, 4 and 5 vertebrae).
  3. Osteochondrosis of the sacrum (located in the sacral bones). This type of disease is very rare.
  4. Fusion of the sacral bones and vertebrae.

Developmental stages of lumbosacral osteochondrosis

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

  1. There are changes in the core and its position.
  2. Destruction of the outer fibrous ring begins.
  3. After the ring breaks, 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 is a spasm of muscles and blood vessels, problems in the functioning of organs.

Vascular spasms 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 low back fatigue, discomfort, and uncertainty.

In the third stage, the disc nucleus leaves the annulus fibrosus and an intervertebral hernia is formed. Fragments of a fallen disc compress the nerve roots that innervate internal organs, muscles, and areas of the skin. As a result of this, a change in the sensitivity of a certain area develops, a burning sensation, numbness and loss of sensation can develop. Nerve compression can lead to loss of motor function or muscle atrophy.

According to the area where there is a violation of the innervation, doctors can tell exactly where the spinal column is damaged. If disc fragments fall into the spinal canal, the spinal cord is compressed. This often disrupts 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 tissues with dense connective tissue. There is some restoration of the spinal support function, the pain lessens a little, but its mobility and elasticity are lost.

The above steps are conditional, as the development of the disease is very individual.

Symptoms: the body will tell

Symptoms can be divided into main, associated with changes in the spine, and additional, associated with impaired innervation due to pinched nerves.


  • pain and numbness in the lower back. It can be temporary at first and manifest during physical exertion and movement. As they develop, they become permanent, they can be sharp or painful, they appear even when coughing or sneezing;
  • fatigue and depression;
  • decreased sensitivity of the lower extremities;
  • impaired mobility of the lower back;
  • spinal curvature, lordosis.


  • acute back pain;
  • deterioration of reflexes;
  • shots in the lower extremities, lameness;
  • muscle weakness;
  • decreased sweating;
  • cold sensation in the legs.

Depending on the location of osteochondrosis, pains are 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 leg and thigh area;
  • with the defeat of the 5th vertebra - in the sacrum, lower back.

How is lumbosacral osteochondrosis diagnosed?

Diagnosis begins with a detailed survey of the patient. The doctor should listen carefully to the patient's complaints, find out the location and intensity of pain, pay special attention to collateral symptoms (loss of skin sensitivity, impaired motor function).

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

Special attention should be paid to posture, possible curvature of the spine. Noteworthy is how the patient moves, the degree of muscle development.

The main diagnostic tool for lumbosacral osteochondrosis is radiography. Magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography are used with success.


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

The main feature of this column section is a large load (dynamic and static), which he constantly experiences. This is why lumbar discs wear out sooner.

Possible consequences

This disease is dangerous for its consequences:

  • damage to the knee and pelvic joints;
  • internal organ dysfunction (potency problems 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 cannot answer what exactly causes this disease. Or rather, which of the factors has the greatest influence on its development. Some of the researchers believe that lumbosacral osteochondrosis is the price a person pays for walking upright. In fact, 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 this:

  • severe spinal cord injury;
  • heredity;
  • flat foot;
  • prolonged standing;
  • postural disorders;
  • sedentary lifestyle;
  • excess body weight;
  • unbalanced diet.

who is at risk

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

Another cause of the disease is excessive exercise and injuries.

Proper nutrition is important for the prevention of osteochondrosis: food must contain all the necessary components, be rich in vitamins and microelements.


Treatment can be surgical or conservative. If the disease is at the stage of appearance of intervertebral hernias, surgical intervention is indispensable. Conservative treatment includes the following methods:

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

Drug therapy includes anti-inflammatory medications, pain relievers, pain relievers for muscle spasms, and injection blocks. 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:

  • prevention of excessive load on the lumbar region;
  • strengthening of the back muscles;
  • maintain correct posture;
  • physical activity;
  • proper nutrition;
  • regulation of the rest regime;
  • timely treatment of other back diseases.

home treatments


There are quite simple exercises that a person can independently perform at home. They are used for therapeutic and prophylactic purposes. Its main task is to strengthen the back muscles to partially unload the spine.

exercise therapy

Therapeutic exercise is one of the main forms of treatment for osteochondrosis. Exercise helps to strengthen the muscles, which takes some of the load off the spine. Improves blood circulation in tissues, including intervertebral discs. Therapeutic exercise helps to remove muscle tension, reduce pain.


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

instead of an epilogue

Summing up the above, it can be noted that this disease is a real "disease of the century" that threatens any 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 the advanced form.

The positive point is that it is in the power of each of us to prevent the development of osteochondrosis. All you need to do is take care of your spine: don't put too much stress on it, watch your own weight, lead a healthy lifestyle, eat normally, avoid injuries.

If you have started to notice the first symptoms of osteochondrosis, see a doctor. In the early stages, this disease is easily treated. Take care of your spine so that, even in old age, movements bring you joy, not discomfort.