Spinal Glossary: L

  • L#: The letter L followed by a number identifies a specific vertebra in the lumbar (lower) spine. For example, L3 is the third vertebra in the lumbar spine. L3-4 would refer to the disc between the L3 and L4 vertebrae.
  • laminectomy: Surgical procedure removing the shingle-like portions of a vertebra to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots (see anatomy section).
  • laminotomy: Surgical procedure removing a small bony portion of shigle-like elements (lamina) that protect the neural canal to relieve pressure on the nerve roots.
  • LBP: Low back pain.
  • lordosis: Curve in the spine that points to the front of the body.
  • lumbar: Lower back.
  • Lumbar Radiculopathy: “Lumbar” refers to the lower region of your back. “Radiculopathy” refers to a set of symptoms usually associated with a compressed spinal nerve – symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.
  • Lumbosacral radiculopathy: A broad term referring to a range of symptoms associated with the nerves of the lumbosacral plexus in the lower back.
  • Ligamentum flavum: Tough bands of tissue that connect the vertebrae, lend stability for good posture and allow for a wide range of back movement, especially flexion; called “flavum” (Latin for yellow) because of their yellow appearance.
  • Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF): A type of spinal fusion surgery where the surgeon enters the lower back through the side rather than back. This procedure is designed to be completed through minimally invasive means.
  • ligaments of the spine: The ligaments of the spine, like ligaments throughout the body, are in place to support the neck and back, and they help stabilize the spinal column. Over the years, however, ligaments can become strained or even calcified, which may lead to painful symptoms.