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The Anatomy of Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain

Low back pain, or lumbago, will affect most people at some point in their lives. The discomfort may stem from a muscle strain acquired during a softball game or a ligament sprain from lifting a heavy box. The lower back, or lumbar region of the spine, is also prone to a variety of degenerative disorders, such as facet disease and degenerative disc disease. These ailments cause a general weakening of the spinal anatomy due to tissue deterioration, which renders your lower back less able to support the complete normal range of activities.

Why Is Low Back Pain So Common?

The lumbar region of the spine is the single most common site of back pain. While it may seem like this region is the strongest level of the spine because the lumbar vertebrae (L1-L5) and intervertebral discs are larger than those in the neck and middle back, the lower back is also the region of the spine that must support the most weight. Think about your head, neck, torso, arms, organs, ribcage, and all the other elements of the upper half of the body—your lumbar spine is essentially responsible for supporting all of these anatomical structures. The lumbar spine is also a very flexible level of the spine because it is involved in so many twisting, flexion, and extension movements. This high level of flexibility means that the intervertebral discs and facet joints are more prone to deterioration.

After muscle strains and ligament sprains, neural compression is the most common cause of low back pain. Conditions like herniated discs, bulging discs, bone spurs, and spondylolisthesis can cause anatomical abnormalities that protrude into the spinal canal and pinch or compress adjacent nerves or the spinal cord itself. When a pinched nerve occurs in the lumbar spine, symptoms of tingling, numbness, weakness, and pain can radiate from the lower back, through the buttocks, thighs, knees, and feet. These symptoms are sometimes collectively referred to as aradiculopathy. .Sciatica is a form of radiculopathy in which pain originates in the buttocks and radiates down the posterior-lateral leg potentially all the way to the foot.

Surgeries for Low Back Pain

Common surgeries that address low back pain are disc replacement and fusion. Both operations are highly invasive and involve disrupting a large portion of the spinal anatomy, after which bone grafts, hardware, or prosthetic materials are inserted into the spine with the aim of immobilization of the fused areas and nerve decompression. However these open spine procedures are not the only options for lower back pain treatment. Laser Spine Institute specializes in minimally invasive surgical procedures that utilize safe, effective endoscopic technology. Contact us today for a free review of your MRI or CT scan and to learn more about how to recover health without highoy invasive open back surgery.

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