Pain in the L5-S1 disc area of the spine can be the result of a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease or fractures in the facet joints, according to Spine-health. Spinal conditions such as osteoarthritis and lumbar spinal stenosis have an impact on the L5-S1 area of the spine in addition to other levels of the lumbar spine.
The L5-S1 vertebral segment, also known as the lumbosacral joint, has many components that can cause pain in the back and legs, including sciatica, explains Spine-health. The L5 nerve root runs from the spinal canal through the L5-S1 segment and down through the legs as part of the sciatic nerve. Compression and inflammation of the nerve root can lead to sciatic pain.
The structure of the lumbosacral segment provides a base for the spine that allows a broad range of motion such as twisting, bending and turning, notes Spine-health. There is no spinal cord in the lumbar spine, but the segment is prone to injury over time due to wear and tear and normal degeneration. Even instances of extreme pain are unlikely to lead to permanent damage or paralysis. A physician or chiropractor can diagnose the specific cause of pain in the L5-S1 disc area and generally begin with non-operative forms of treatment.