Yoga treatment for lumbar vertebrae aka lower back pain

(February 10, 2011)

I have problem of straightening of lumbar curvature with a loss of disc space between L5 and S1 vertebrae body. How can I detect my problem? Is there any asanas or medicines for the same?

Anatomy of Spine

The anatomy of the spine is divided into four parts which is usually defined by how many vertebrae are found in each section. Sometimes, the vertebrae are also called vertebral bodies. Seven cervical vertebrae are present in the cervical spine (neck). It starts with c1 which is at the spine’s top and ends with c7 which is found at the bottom of the spine’s cervical portion. Problems of the neck can cause a neck pain or a radiating pain down the arms to the fingers and hands. There are 12 thoracic vertebrae present in the thoracic spine of the upper back, which are named from t1 to t12. These 12 thoracic vertebrae are attached to the sternum and rib bones. Since this portion of the spine is quite firmly attached to the sternum and ribs, it is more stable and not many problems are experienced in this area.

There are five vertebrae present in the lumbar spine or lower back which are named from l1 to l5 and are very flexible. As this part of the spine supports most of the weight of the body and allows for greater motion, lot of back problems can be experienced. Lower back problems like in the l4 and l5 vertebrae can cause a back pain that can travel down to the legs and feet. The location of the last part of the spine known as the sacral region is just below the lumbar spine. It consists of a fusion of five boney sections which are named from s1 to s5; it forms a shape like a triangle and makes the base of the spine. The area where there is the meeting of the sacral region and lumbar spine is vulnerable to back problems. The lumbar spine sits on the sacrum, and the place where they meet is known as the lumbosacral joint or the l5 s1 vertebrae.

Along with the back bone, spinal discs are present between the bodies of vertebra and may be called spinal disc, vertebral disc or just disc. The naming of each disc is based on which two bodies of vertebra it lies between. The l5 lumbar vertebrae location is just above the sacral region and a pain in this area is one of the symptoms experienced if it is twisted or fractured, and in some cases surgery may be required. Fractures that occur in the l4 and l5 vertebrae of the spine are different from those that happen at the thoracolumbar junction. The differences mainly involve the classification, options of treatment, biomechanics, and anatomy. The treatment for fractures in this area should be individualized, and the management of thoracolumbar trauma cannot necessarily be used as a treatment for this area.

Spinal Fusion - L4 and L5 Surgery

Spinal fusion also called spondylosyndesis or spondylodesis is a technique of surgery used in which two or more vertebrae are joined together. In this technique, bone tissue is used either from a donor or the patient in conjunction with the process of natural bone growth of the body to fuse the vertebrae. The spinal fusion is most often performed in the spine’s lumbar region. It is also used to treat thoracic and cervical problems. Problems in the thoracic region are quite rare since motion is minimal in the thoracic spine. The requirements for spinal fusion are either because of an intense pain which failed to be cured by conservative treatments or neurological treatments. Some of the conditions in which there may be the recommendation of a spinal fusion of the l4 and l5 are degenerative disc disease, spinal disc herniation, discogenic pain, spinal tumor, vertebral fracture, scoliosis, kyphosis, spondylolisthesis, spondylosis, posterior Rami syndrome, and any condition that brings about spine instability. An l4 and l5 fusion surgery procedure can be done to get rid of the pain that is caused by the vertebrae motion that is abnormal, so that the two vertebrae are made immobile.

L4 and L5 Vertebrae

The l4 and l5 degenerative lumbar disc of the spine is a disease that can cause a tingling, incontinence, and pain in the legs and buttocks. This condition occurs due to the wearing down of the discs. Each of the discs is composed of water, making it spongy, and as you grow older the water present in it is lost, lessening the cushioning impact of it. When there is l4 and l5 disc herniation, numbness and pain will be felt down the legs and buttocks if nerves are being pressed by them. When the nerves between the l4 and l5 discs are pressed, radiculopathy can also be caused. The diagnosis of disc degeneration is performed through an X-ray or MRI. X-rays do not show up the discs as the tissue is soft but the distance separating the discs can be shown, especially between the l4 and l5 vertebra. The treatment plan for the degeneration of the discs will depend on the patients’ age, the problems severity, and the degeneration effects. Some sufferers may sometimes have to undertake physical therapy to make the back stronger. Another treatment plan is pain management which may involve epidural steroid injections or pain medications. The steroid is injected into the space which surrounds the l4 and l5 discs to bring down the pain.

You could also practice some lumbar l4 and l5 vertebrae exercises which will be effective in the straightening of lumbar spine. Regularly practicing the yoga pose Tadasana (Mountain Pose) benefits in reducing the stiffness of the back and increases the flexibility of the spine. To perform this pose you should be in the standing position with your feet at the width of your hips. Your hands should be hanging along the sides of your body and your palms should be facing your body. The back of your pelvis should be moved away from your lower back.  This can be done by pulling in your ribs slightly towards your belly. Then take a few breathes in and out with full concentration and stretch you neck. Keep your shoulders as relaxed as possible, look in front of you and remain motionless. Each time you perform this posture try to increase your concentration and relaxation. It is also essential that you perform it regularly and maintain a yogic diet.

Submitted by C D on February 10, 2011 at 04:42

Your lower back (lumbar spine) has 6 mobile spinal levels. These are also known as motion segments. They surround and lie and in between the 5 lumbar vertebrae. For instance, the motion segment or disk space between the L4 and L5 vertebrae is called the L4-5 disc or the L4-5 level. Your lowest spinal segment, between your sacrum bone of the pelvis and the L5 vertebra, is called the L5-S1 level. Between the vertebral bodies, motion is controlled by the disk at every spinal level. The paired right and left facet joints, at the back of the spine allow extension and flexion motion in your lumbar spine and block rotation motion.

Your symptoms can, typically, be characterized as lumbosacral radiculopathy. This means that there seems to be an injury of a nerve root or irritation of it as it exits your spinal cord through the bony structures of your spine. Naturally, pain will radiate from the back along your leg, sometimes right up to your foot or ankle. The typical pattern depends upon which of your nerve roots has been affected (L4, L5, S1, etc). The painful symptoms will come and go, since the gap around the nerve root fluctuates in size depending on postural changes like extension, flexion, or torsion, because it is not just a hole in a vertebra (bone), but is composed, rather, from grooves in your vertebrae up and down.

Yoga Therapy

With prudent use of anti-inflammatory drugs and a little help of Yoga therapy, you will be able to increase the amount of space allowed for the nerve root and, subsequently, there will be a marked reduction in swelling and other symptoms. This is why, a lot of people experience, slow but sure, relief from their symptoms.

We recommend a regimen of Yogasanas (physical postures), Pranayamas (breathing exercises), Kriyas (cleansing techniques) and Yoga diet. Considering on your condition you should do all these Yoga poses in the following order:

Asanas (poses)


  •  Tadasana (Palm Tree pose)
  •  Parvatasana (Mountain pose)
  •  Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
  •  Ardha Chakrasana (Half Moon pose)
  •  Padangusthasana (Toe to hand pose)


  •  Ushtrasana (Camel pose)
  •  Gomukhasana (Cow face pose)
  •  Simhasana (Lion pose)


  •  Single Leg Raises
  •  Matsyasana (Fish pose)
  •  Yastikasana (Stick pose)


  •  Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
  •  Dhanurasana (Bow pose)
  •  Shalabhasana (Locust pose)


1. Viparita Karani (Legs against the wall pose)
2. Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)


Vrikshasana (Tree pose)

Among the forward bends, you will find the seated ones the most difficult. We recommend you don’t do any forward bends at all; instead, do backward bends. These will give you the most benefit. Above all you should practice plenty of Shavasana (Corpse pose) 2 – 3 times a day for at least 15 minutes at a stretch, preferably longer. You require lots of rest and relaxation and Shavasana (Corpse pose) is designed to give you deep mental and emotional relaxation, in addition to physical relaxation which will hasten the healing process.

Pranayamas (breathing exercises)

  • Kapalabhatti (Skull cleansing)
  • Anuloma-Viloma (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
  • Ujjayi (Ocean breath)

Kriyas (Cleansing techniques)

  • Jala Neti (Cleansing Nasal passages with water)
  • Sutra Neti (Cleansing Nasal passages with rubber catheter)
  • Vaman Dhauti (Cleansing stomach by vomit water on empty stomach)

Submitted by A on February 24, 2009 at 03:34

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