Lumbar Spine Anatomy

Understanding the lumbar spine anatomy makes it easier
to understand what is causing your pain.






Whether you have spinal stenosis or a herniated disc or are considering spine surgery, an appreciation of how the parts and pieces are connected and related to each other, allows you to comprehend exactly what is causing your pain.

While understanding the lumbar anatomy, may not make your pain go away, it can certainly make it easier to bear.

Complex Piece of Equipment

The lumbar anatomy, as well as the rest of your spine, is a sophisticated and complex piece of the equipment.  It supports your head and trunk while allowing you to move, bend, and twist.  It also provides a safe place for the spinal cord and the nerves that go to every part of your body.


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The Lumbar Spine Anatomy
Shows Why Spinal Decompression Works

When you look at the anatomy you can understand why Hippocrates got the idea to start tying people to ladders and hanging them upside down to relieve the weight of gravity.

You can think of your spine as 24 blocks of bone, or vertebra, balanced on top of each other. These blocks of bone are called the body of the vertebra. Between each vertebral body is an intervertebral disc that is a connection between the two vertebrae.

"they form the spinal canal"

On the back of each vertebral body is a ring of bone, and when all of these rings are put together, they form the spinal canal.  

This ring of bone is formed by the pedicles and the lamina.  The pedicles are two short bony projections off of the back of the vertebra and they are connected by the lamina forming the ring.

At the back part of the ring where the pedicles join the lamina, there are small projections that extend both the up and down, with joints surfaces that connect to the ring above and the ring below. These form the facet joints that connect the posterior spine.

To form your spine, each vertebra is connected to the one above and the one below, by an intervertebral disc in the front, and the two facet joints at the rear.

A closer look at the lumbar spine anatomy shows that the body of the vertebra is composed two types of bone, a hard dense covering of cortical bone over an inner core of softer cancellous bone.

The pedicles and lamina are composed almost entirely of the stronger cortical bone.

More About The Lumbar Anatomy: 
   Ch 2 The Intervertebral Discs 
   Ch 3 The Spinal Cord and Nerves

Maybe these can also help:

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Mechanical Back Pain

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

Return from Lumbar Spine Anatomy to Causes of Back Pain

Return to Living with Back Pain



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