Lumbar 4 sits above L5 and is one of the last true vertebrae in the spine, i.e. moveable vertebra. L4 like L5 is large and bares most of our body weight as well as the vertical compression of the spine. Having a degree of flexibility as well as weight bearing makes it vulnerable to injury, especially in relation to the intervertebral discs above and below this vertebra. Due to the amount and range of movement our bodies perform during the day and or at night, the discs, our shock absorbed get continually squeezed. By the end of the day we can be an inch or two shorter than we are in the morning. Gravity has a role to play in that as well, however if we are in tune with our body’s natural rhythm, a good night’s sleep will allow the discs to regenerate and bring you back to your regular height.
L4 is also an area where you are most likely to find herniated discs, degeneration or slipped discs. L4 can slip over L5 with the result that both of the conditions impinge on the nerve root (sciatic) causing pain to the lower back radiating down the leg.
Spondylolysis can occur when there is a weakening or stress fracture to the upper and lower facet joints connecting L4 and L5. This is where one vertebra slips over another. The consequences this can have on an individual’s functioning can be immense if this develops to multiple vertebrae.
Other conditions that are associated with misalignment with this vertebra are lumbago, prostate trouble, painful or too frequent urination. Any injury or blockages to the sacral nerves affect the bladder and bowel. Remember that all messages and impulses from the brain are sent down the spinal cord out into the rest of our body and back again. If L4 is out of alignment trapping the sacral nerve, someone may have issues with their bladder, bowel or prostate.
Emotional and Psychological issues
associated with this misalignment are connected to those of L5 which I discussed in the previous blog. In addition to this are lethargy in digestion, sexual problems as well as feelings of guilt and shame. Research into early trauma and effects on physical health issues look at people who subconsciously hold themselves back in life in order to allow others to shine sometimes have problems with the bladder. Deep seated anger and resentment build up from a time of not having their feelings validated as a child. Their identity and position in the family being challenged or put down. Being made to feel ashamed of the goal they wanted and never feeling good enough. This may make you express your boundaries through aggression and control whether overtly or passively.
Research into the metaphysical aspects of trauma in this area also indicates that, it can impact your sexual relationships and choice of partner. You may feel disempowered during intimacy with your partner.
If we can just recall from previous discussions, how energy in our bodies can become stuck and blocked, we can imagine it looking like pockets of congestion. Consider traffic congestion and being stuck in this system day in day out, road works scattered all over the place, accidents stopping traffic, stress building. What utter chaos this can cause! Now consider that environment inside your body rather than outside of it. Once order is restored and blockages cleared, the traffic flows unhindered. This is true for the blood flow in your system, which holds the vibrations created by our feelings and emotions.
With problems in digestion, the start of niggles and issues may manifest on the left side. It appears through research that adults who were bottle fed as babies may have experienced more stomach aches and food intolerances as children than those who were beast fed.
The right side of the body seems to store more of the shame and guilt. It’s the seat of our inner critic who continually beats us with a barrage of admonishments of imperfections and inadequacies. These are very difficult emotions to feel and as such we will find ways of repressing these until we are faced with a behaviour in another that becomes increasingly intolerant. We know that as ‘a mirror’.
Realigning this area assists in our ability to properly digest and process these emotions so that healing and a renewed sense of ‘I’m actually a really good person’ can re-emerge.