Someone here mentioned fusion on the L5/L6 and the SI. I had never heard of the L6 so I searched the net and found somethings about it. It is an anomolly. So, today, I asked the PT about it. He said that it is an overlooked problem. Some people have an extra disc, the L6. So, if you have an MRI or X-Ray, ask them to identify the discs. Ask them to count them. You may have an L6. The Pt said that it is usually inheirited. I wonder if it causes more problems or less. I am going to take out my MRI and count mine.
If they tell you that you have arthritis in the L4 and they counted from the bottom, and you have an L6, how do you know which one it really is? My doctor counts from the bottom at L5.
Betty, the extra vertibrae runs in my family. My Grandfather was the last one in my family to have it. It causes alot of problems for my family members that have it. It does not develop completely and things are thrown off balance. My Grandfather was in constant pain. I am glad noone in my immediate family has it. I worry that if I ever have children, I could pass it on to them.
Iwas at the PT today and asked, out of curiosity, to see the spine model. He was very happy to show it to me. He told me that in some people, the SI is jointed one more joint than in others, thus the L6. So, there is extra movement. This causes instability in some people. In some, it causes scoliosis. It makes for more work in fusing lumbar patients that have it. This usually makes them a level 2 instead of a level 1.
He also went into details on fusion of the L5 and SI, not something that I ever want to have done. But then, who does. He showed me where the sciatic nerve exits and why some people suffer from sciatica.
He was a very thourough PT/Chiropractor. I liked him because he stated that if he could not help in four treatments, then he doesn't milk anyone for more money.
I have an L6 and that is the area that I had my original problems. Had a diskectomy L6-S1 4 years ago. Having problems again, I believe that once you have a disk removed - it makes the higher disks unstable. Anyhow - I am not sure if other members of my family have the L6 but we all have back problems !!!