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Lumbar Plexus: Nerves & Function

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  • 0:00 Definition of the…
  • 0:40 The L1 Nerve
  • 1:25 The L2-L4 Nerves
  • 2:09 The Femoral Nerve
  • 2:59 Obturator Nerve
  • 3:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Brekke Peterson Munks
Did you know you have a bundle of nerves in your back called the lumbar plexus? In this lesson you will learn about this body part and its importance, and then you can test your knowledge with a quiz.

Definition of the Lumbar Plexus

Despite what it sounds like, lumbar plexus is not a 1980's hair band; it's actually a group of nerves located in the lumbar region of your body. The lumbar region is between the bottom of the ribs and the hips.

The lumbar plexus is a group of four nerves (L1, L2, L3 and L4) that are located in front of the hip joint and follow the leg down to the thigh. Each of these nerves have specific branches and are associated with particular actions. Each of these labels (L1, L2, L3 and L4) are associated with the vertebrae that the nerve comes from.

The L1 Nerve

Let's first look at the L1 iliohypogastric nerve. This is the superior, or first branch of the nerve from the L1 vertebrae. This nerve is connected to the T12, or thoracic 12, nerve and branches into the iliohypogastric nerve. This nerve is important to the abdomen muscles. It helps to sense the buttocks and feelings in the abdomen.

Now let's look at the L1 ilioinguinal nerve. Similar to the L1 iliohypogastric nerve, the ilioinguinal nerve is important in the abdomen. This nerve is the second branch of the L1 nerve. This nerve is important to both male and female genitalia sensation associated with the skin of these organs.

The L2-L4 Nerves

First, let's look at the L2 genitofemoral nerve. This nerve is from the second vertebrae of the spine. It is associated with the cremaster muscle in males. This muscle is the muscle that covers the male testis. This nerve is responsible for testis movement. This never also connects to the L1 nerve and is associated with the sensation associated with genitalia.

Now let's look at the L2-L3 lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. This nerve joins fibers from both L2 and L3 vertebrae to the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. This nerve runs down the leg to the thigh. It is important to sense leg location and feeling on the front, side and back of the thigh.

Femoral Nerve

First, let's look at the L2 to L4 femoral anterior nerve. The nerve that is called the femoral anterior nerve is associated with branches of the L2, L3 and L4 nerves from L2 to L4 lumbar vertebrae. This nerve is gives sensation to the skin of the thigh of the leg. It is associated with muscle movement that moves the thigh inward, which is called adduction.

Now let's look at the L2 to L4 femoral posterior division nerve. This nerve is called the femoral posterior division nerve. It is associated with another branch of the L2, L3, and L4 nerves. This nerve is gives sensation to the hip, knee and thigh of the leg. It is associated with muscle movement such as knee extension and patella movement.

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