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The spine of the lower back has five lumbar vertebrae and below these the sacrum, a triangular-shaped bone which fits between the bones of the pelvis with a sacro-illiac joint on each side. 

The coccyx is a small tail-like bone below the sacrum. The bodies of the vertebrae are bound together by the intervertebral discs. These discs with their tough outer rim of cartilage and jelly-like core serve as shock-absorbers, and are shaped to give the lumbar spine its natural forward curve. 

The vertebrae form a bony canal containing the spinal cord.  The spinal nerves exit from the cord through openings between the vertebrae, and supply the skin and muscles of the legs and feet,  the lower abdomen and groin areas. Branches from these nerves also lead to the internal organs, such as the digestive, reproductive and urinary systems.

Irritation to the spinal nerves may be referred along the nerve pathways into the abdomen, groin, hips, legs or feet.  Often pain is felt along the large sciatic nerve which passes through the buttock and down the back of the leg. There may also be sensations of numbness in any of these areas.

Irritation to the spinal nerves are caused by muscle tension especially in the lower back. This muscle tension is often the result of body stress caused by mechanical causes such as an impact to the back or twisting while lifting heavy objects.

Muscle function may be affected, resulting in stiffness or weakness. The compression effect in the lower back may be so severe that the back muscles lock up in a protective spasm, pulling the spine sideways or forwards.


Note: Some of the above information is taken from the official BSR information pamphlets.

  • For further reading go to the www.bodystressrelease.com website or read ‘Self Healing through Body Stress Release – Unlocking Stored Tension’.
    Written by: Dr Gail Meggersee.
    ISBN 978-0-86486-783-4
    Published by Spearhead, Cape Town, South Africa