Lumbar Spine Dislocation: Symptoms & Treatment

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition and Anatomy courses for over 5 years. He has a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from Furman University and a M.S. in Dietetics & Nutrition from Florida International University. He is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Certified Exercise Physiologist (EP-C)

Lumbar spine dislocations refer to injuries that cause the vertebrae in the lumbar spine to move out of their normal positions. In this lesson, learn about the symptoms and treatments for this type of injury. Updated: 09/12/2019

Lumbar Spine Dislocation

Joe is a 43-year-old investment banker who was driving home one Friday after work, excited for the weekend. As he was making a left turn into his neighborhood, a sedan ran into his passenger side door. Unfortunately, Joe was not wearing his seat belt, and the impact from the crash caused him to suffer major whiplash.

The driver of the sedan was wearing his seat belt and was unharmed in the crash. This driver immediately got out of his car and ran over to see if Joe was alright. Joe told the driver that his lower back was in a lot of pain, but other than that, he seemed to be okay. A pedestrian who saw the accident called 911, and an ambulance was at the scene in about 5 minutes.

Once the paramedics found out that Joe had hurt his back, they very carefully put him on a stretcher and put his neck in a brace. They did not want Joe to move his spine in fear that it might cause further damage. The paramedics took Joe to the hospital where doctors performed multiple x-rays on his lower back as well as other parts of his body. When the doctor evaluated the x-rays, he informed Joe that he had dislocated two of his vertebrae in his lumbar spine.

A lumbar spine dislocation is an injury in which the vertebrae in the lumbar spine are moved from their normal location in the spinal column. The lumbar spine is located in the lower back, where the natural curve of the spine goes inward toward the belly. Lumbar spine dislocations are often caused by car accidents, sports collisions and injuries, falls, and other accidents.

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  • 0:04 Lumbar Spine Dislocation
  • 1:26 Symptoms
  • 2:06 Treatment
  • 3:27 Lesson Summary
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One of the most common symptoms of a lumbar spine dislocation is pain in the lower back at the site of the dislocation vertebrae. In addition to pain, lumbar spine dislocations also may cause the following symptoms in the lower back:

  • Numbness and tingling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Stiffness

If the dislocation of the vertebrae in the lumbar spine causes any damage to the spinal cord or nerves in the lumbar spine, serious complications may result. The lumbar spinal cord and nerves control muscles in the lower extremities. Therefore, damage to the spinal cord and nerves in the lower back may result in weakness, numbness, stiffness or even paralysis of the lower extremities.


If a person has injured any part of their spine, including the lumbar spine, it's important to not move the person. Call 911 and then wait for medical professionals to arrive. Moving the person may cause further damage, possibly leading to paralysis. Once the medical professionals arrive, they will often secure a person on a board or stretcher and place a brace on their neck to help immobilize the person, preventing any movement or shifting of the spine.

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