What is Lumbar Instability?

Surgery for Lumbar Instability

The individual bones that make up the spine (vertebra) are supposed to have some degree of movement. At the same time, all parts of the spine are also meant to work in unison to provide support while allowing for normal movements. When one or more segments of the spine is deformed or out of place, the result is lumbar instability that often results in pain or discomfort due to increased pressure on nerves, joints, muscles and tendons supporting the spine.

Today, the Beverly Hills spine surgeons at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration are going to share some of the causes and treatments of lumbar instability so that those living with discomfort can better understand their options for how to achieve a life with less pain.

Causes of Lumbar Instability

The spine is stabilized when three key systems (the passive system, the active system and the neutral system) work together. If a problem should occur within any one of these systems, such as degeneration with age, a fractured or damaged vertebra, a pinched nerve or damage to muscles and tendons, added stress is placed on the other systems and results in lumbar instability. If lumbar instability is the result of compression or injury to the spinal nerves, symptoms may include:

  • Radiating pain (usually extending to arms and legs)
  • Numbness or tingling sensations in the back area
  • Physical weakness
  • Paralysis (partial or full)

Treatments for Lumbar Instability

Treatment depends on what is actually causing the spine to be unstable in some way. However, conservative treatments like prescription pain relievers and physical therapy are typically recommended first. Patients not responding to traditional treatments generally need some type of surgery to correct the instability. If misalignment of adjacent vertebra is greater than 4 millimeters, spinal fusion surgery is usually on top of the list of possible treatment options.

Lumbar instability may result in either intermittent pain that’s only experienced with certain movements or chronic pain that’s always present to some degree. If you are experiencing either of these symptoms and are looking for information about treatment options or would like to schedule a consultation with renowned surgeon Dr. Hyun Bae, call 310-828-7757 today.