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To understand what transitional lumbosacral vertebrae means, it is necessary to understand the vertebrae. Vertebrae are bones that form an opening in which the spinal cord passes. The vertebrae are given different names depending on the area of the body they are located in. The lumbar vertebrae are in the area of the lower back. There are five lumbar vertebrae, known as L1 through L5, with L1 being above L2, L2 being above L3, and so on. Below L5 are the sacral vertebrae. There are five sacral vertebrae, known as S1 through S5, with S1 being above S2, S2 being above S3, and so on.

FEATURED BOOK: The Lumbar Spine: Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy

In transitional lumbosacral vertebrae, usually the last lumbar vertebra (L5) or the first sacral vertebra (S1) are formed improperly. People are born with this condition. Normally, when the vertebrae develop, they are clearly formed to represent different sections (for example, lumbar vertebrae or sacral vertebrae). In transitional lumbosacral vertebrae, one of the vertebrae does not form as part of the lumbar or sacral area. It is as if this one vertebra cannot make up its mind whether to be become a lumbar vertebra or a sacral vertebra.
Transitional Lumbosacral Vertebrae
The result is that this vertebra winds up taking on characteristics of both the lumbar and sacral vertebrae. In other word, it is like a combination of the two. This is where the term transitional comes in because transitional means to be in a state of becoming something else. Treatment of this condition can involve physical therapy to stretch the spine and make it more stable. The use or a supportive brace to keep the back straight can also be helpful. Such a brace is known as a lumbosacral orthosis. In rare cases, corticosteroid injections can be used to treat associated pain and discomfort. Corticosteroid drugs are a type of drug that help to decrease inflammation. In very rare cases, surgery can be performed to attempt to correct the problem. Transitional lumbosacral vertebrae comes from the Latin word "transeo" meaning "to go across," the Latin word "lumbus" meaning "loin," the Latin word "sacer" meaning "sacred," and the Latin word "vertebra" meaning "joint." Put the words together and you get "to go across (the) loin sacred joint."