The lumbar spine is the third region of the vertebral column, situated in the lower ago between the thoracic and also sacral vertebral segments.

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It is consisted of of five distinct vertebrae, which space the largest of the vertebral column. This support the lumbar spine in that main function as a weight bearing structure.

This short article will look in ~ the osteology that the lumbar vertebrae, analyzing their properties features, joints and also their clinical correlations.


Characteristic Features

Although the lumbar vertebrae absence some of the much more distinctive features of other vertebrae, there space several qualities that help to identify them.

The vertebral bodies are huge and kidney-shaped. They room deeper anteriorly 보다 posteriorly, creating the lumbosacral edge (the angle in between the lengthy axis of the lumbar region and the of the sacrum). The vertebral foramen is triangular in shape.

Other features of a usual lumbar vertebrae:

Transverse processes are long and slender.Articular processes have practically vertical facets.Spinous processes are short and broad.Accessory processes deserve to be uncovered on the posterior element of the base of every transverse process. They act as sites the attachment because that deep ago muscles.Mammillary processes can be discovered on the posterior surface of each remarkable articular process. They act as sites that attachment because that deep back muscles.

The 5th lumbar vertebrae, L5, has some distinctive characteristics of its own. It has actually a notably huge vertebral body and transverse procedures as that carries the weight of the entire upper body.


Fig 1.1 – remarkable view that a lumbar vertebrae, showing its characteristic features.


There space two varieties of share in the lumbar spine. Both of this articulations space not distinctive to the lumbar vertebrae, and are existing throughout the vertebral column.

Between vertebral arches – created by the coupling of superior and also inferior articular processes from nearby vertebrae. The is a synovial kind joint.


The joints of the lumbar vertebrae room supported by several ligaments. They deserve to be separated into two groups; those present throughout the vertebral column, and also those distinctive to the lumbar spine.

Present transparent Vertebral Column

Anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments: long ligaments that operation the size of the vertebral column, covering the vertebral bodies and also intervertebral discs.Ligamentum flavum: Connects the laminae of nearby vertebrae.Interspinous ligament: Connects the spinous procedures of adjacent vertebrae.Supraspinous ligament: connects the advice of adjacent spinous processes.

(Note: In the cervical spine, the interspinous and also supraspinous ligaments thicken and combine to form the nuchal ligament).

Unique to Lumbar Spine

The lumbosacral share (between L5 and S1 vertebrae) is strengthened by the iliolumbar ligaments. These are fan-like ligaments radiating from the transverse processes of the L5 vertebra come the ilia of the pelvis


Fig 1.2 – Ligaments that the lumbar vertebrae

Anatomical Relationships

Throughout the vertebral column, the spinal cord travels through the vertebral canal (made increase by the foramina of all vertebrae). At around the level the L1, the spinal cord terminates and the cauda equina begins. This is a bundle that lumbar, sacral and coccygeal nerve roots.

Spinal nerves exit the vertebral canal with the intervertebral foramina.

Clinical Relevance: Abnormalities that the Lumbar Spine

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Thought to be hereditary, lumbar spinal stenosis results in a stenotic (narrow) vertebral foramen in one or number of lumbar vertebrae. This have the right to cause compression of the spinal cord and also exiting nerves.


Fig 1.3 – excessive lumbar lordosis.

This condition can it is in worsened by age-related degenerative changes, such as bulging the the intervertebral discs.

Lumbar spinal stenosis have the right to sometimes be treated surgically v a decompressive laminectomy.

Excessive Lumbar Lordosis

This is an abnormal anterior curvature the the vertebral column in the lumbar region, qualified by anterior tilting that the pelvis.

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Women build temporary excessive lumbar lordosis in so late pregnancy, however this resolves after ~ childbirth. In one of two people sex, weight problems can likewise cause lordosis as result of the increased weight of the abdomen. Both instances can cause earlier pain, and occur together a result of an altered line the gravity.