Article of the week -August 6-10, 2018 - L5 Will Help You Arrive

L5 Will Help You Arrive                        

If you have ever lost your mobility for any period of time you will realize what a gift it is to be able to walk.  I remember in 2nd year university when I was a student at the University of Western Ontario I fractured my ankle and had to have it casted.  I quickly realized how losing my mobility made the simplest things seem difficult.

Many people notice a steady loss of mobility as they age.  You can actually see signs of it everywhere you go – seniors (and younger) using canes, walkers, scooters and wheelchairs.  Society has actually ingrained in us the idea that loss of mobility is a normal part of aging.  In this week's article of the week I want to give you a clear vision of what it takes to preserve your mobility as you age by focusing on one specific nerve that is critical in allowing you to walk.

There are 31 pairs of nerves that exit your spine, one each on the left and right side.  Of the 31 pairs, 8 exit in the cervical (neck) region, 12 in the thoracic (mid-back) region, 5 in the lumbar (lower back) region and 6 in the sacrum/coccyx (tailbone) region.

The nerve I want to focus on is the fifth lumbar nerve, or L5 as it is abbreviated.  L5 exits the spinal cord and part way down your leg becomes a nerve called the peroneal (also called fibular) nerve.  This nerve sends messages to the muscles of your leg and foot and it allows you to lift your big toe and foot at the ankle. Before you can swing your leg forward in the gait cycle, you have to be able to lift your foot off the ground so you don't stumble.  L5 is the nerve that allows you to do this.  People who have extreme pressure on the L5 nerve suffer from a condition known as “foot drop” where they struggle with the ability to hold their toes up off the ground when they walk.  Pressure on this nerve can also cause numbness and tingling on the top and side of the foot because L5 also controls skin sensation in this area.

There are 2 ways that subluxations (misalignments) of L5 can affect your mobility.  Firstly a misalignment can put direct pressure or tension on a nerve and interfere with the messages trying to get to your leg and foot.  Over time, subluxations also cause the spine to degenerate which causes a condition known as stenosis which refers to pressure on nerves caused by degeneration and a shrinking space for the nerve to exit the spine.

The good news is, subluxations are correctable.  The earlier you start to have them corrected, the more fully correctable they are.  Also, you need to be under regular chiropractic care as you age to continue to address and correct the subluxations that occur with the daily stresses of life.

Remember, L5 will help you arrive, but only if you keep your spine subluxation-free and keep the pressure off this important nerve root!

Yours for lifelong mobility,

Dr. Tim

Grace Chiropractic – 1-3230 Monarch Drive – 705-323-9100 –


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