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Hi Hardeep,

Thank you for this question! As an NCS, orthopedics is not my specialty, so I referred back to some digging I did a couple years ago. The website below does a nice job of explaining the difference between “exiting” and “traversing” nerve roots at each spinal level. At the L4-L5 level, the L4 nerve root is exiting the spinal column while the L5 nerve root is crossing the disc to exit at the next level below. In the lumbar spine, disc herniations tend to affect the traversing nerve root due to the most common direction of herniations (posterolateral). In the cervical spine, disc herniations usually affect the exiting nerve root (lateral herniations).


Hope this helps!