The lumbar spine is the lower portion of the back that curves inward toward the abdomen. Beginning approximately six inches below the shoulder blade line, the top of the lumbar spine connects to the end of the thoracic spine and extends downward to the sacral spine.
The lumbar spine has several features that make it unique including:
- As the largest un-fused vertebrae in the spine (L-1 – L-5), the lumbar region is able to bear the most weight and supports the entire torso of the body. Because of this, L4 and L5 and L-5 and S-1 are the most prone to degeneration and injury.
- Where the lumbar spine and the sacral spine meet (L-5 and S-1) is known as the lumbosacral joint. This joint allows for extensive rotation of the lower half of the body, such as the swinging of the hips and pelvis when running.
- At the point where the lumbar spine connects with the bottom of the thoracic spine, the spinal cord ends and nerve roots continue downward and branch out to the groin, buttocks, legs and feet. This collection of nerve roots in the lumbar spine is known as the cauda equina.
Lumbar Surgical Procedures
Dr. LaRocca and the professional team at New Jersey Neck & Back Institute utilize the latest advancements in techniques and equipment to provide the best surgical options for conditions of the lumbar spine including: