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The Lumbar Plexus. It's Complicated...

Lumbar Nerve Course

 

The pelvis contains several parallel nerve groups. One of which is the lumbar plexus and its sensitive branches. This nerve web arises from the anterior rami of lumbar spinal nerves L1 to L4 and T12 from the thoracic spinal nerve. 

Nari Clemons instructs the remote course, Lumbar Nerve Manual Assessment and Treatment, which addresses assessments for the contributory nerves from the lumbar plexus, anatomy, differential diagnosis, and objective findings for specific nerves of the lumbar plexus. This advanced-level course also provides twelve lab techniques for manually treating the nerves of the lumbar plexus. 

Peripheral lumbar plexus nerves included in this course are Iliohypogastric, Ilioinguinal, Genitofemoral, Lateral Femoral Cutaneous, Femoral, and Obturator Nerves. These nerves are vital for the functioning of the lower extremities, including maintaining the ability to extend the knee, flex the hip, and adduct the thigh. 

When a nerve becomes restricted, it disrupts the nerve signal allowing for symptoms to present as possible pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling. The lumbar plexus is vulnerable to injury when its bony protection, the pelvis, is compromised. Based on research from Anthony Chiodo, retroperitoneal hemorrhage, superior ramus fractures, traction, and penetrating injuries all can cause injury to the lumbar plexus. There are also a variety of conditions such as herniated disc, spinal arthritis, repetitive activities, and even poor posture that can lead to lumbar nerve pain, or a pinched nerve.

Nari explains in the Lumbar Course anatomy lecture that, "Dura matter covers the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerve. If you have tension in the peripheral nerves it can cause tension in the central nervous system and vice versa. When working with the nerves it is important to down-train the nervous system. Because the nerves run continuously it is always important to down-train and practice pain theory." She continues to explain that "The osteopathic approach to the fascial system of the peripheral nerve does not have a grounding in scientific research and is based on clinical experience from individuals using peripheral nerve palpation as a method for the evaluation of the nerve's function."

This means that there is not a singular proven technique that is more helpful than another when addressing nerves. The Lumbar Nerve Manual Assessment and Treatment course is essentially a melting pot that pulls from multiple studies and research. The evidence-based, step-by-step approach to treating the lumbar nerve includes

  • Decompression to clear the path of the nerve and potential sites of restriction. 
  • Fascial techniques, just like those that we use with the other fascia of the body.
  • Slacking the nerve towards its origin to create ease.
  • Gliding the nerve in a pain-free manner.
  • Strengthening the weakened muscles. 

Differential diagnosis and treatment of these lumbar plexus nerves can allow patients to return to full daily function. Learn manual assessment and treatment techniques from Nari Clemons in the next Lumbar Nerve Manual Assessment and Treatment remote course, scheduled for September 11-12, 2021.

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