Learning About Lumbar
To continue our talk about the cervical spine and neck pain, we’d like to discuss the lower back and spinal anatomy. Some of the most common pathology and surgical issues are related to this area. Typically, the lumbar section of your spine contains 4 to 6 lumbar vertebrae. Five is the most common, but some people have 4, and others have 6. However, it’s important to note that this is not an abnormality. It’s a variation that is still very normal.
The Structure of Vertebrae
The body of a vertebra is a kind of white, block-shaped structure with the discs between. The discs themselves are made up of two parts: There’s a soft middle, or nucleus, and the Annulus fibrosis, or annulus for short. The annulus is the outside fiber string, and multiple layers hold this material in place. These discs are filled with fluid and are very supple structures. Dr. Kjeldgaard often tells people to think of a healthy, fresh grape. It’s filled with fluid and hard to compress. A healthy disc in the spine is very similar.
Coming out of the vertebra is a yellow structure. These are the nerve roots. Each level has a nerve coming out, on each side, from the spinal canal. The spinal sacs, which are a part of the yellow structure, are in the middle. The spinous process are the little nubs in the middle of the spine that have lamina, a shingle-shaped structure, coming off of it. The lamina from one level connects to the lamina of the next level, top connecting to bottom. These little connections are called facet joints.
At times, people develop facet osteoarthritis, sometimes referred to as spondylosis. When this condition develops, it can encroach on the spine and push into the nerve sac of the central canal, which can generate leg and back pain. If you are experiencing pain of any kind, the doctors of Trinity Orthopedics are always ready to help. Come see what we can do for you.