Understanding The Low Back

A healthy back is strong and flexible. It supports the body and allows you to twist, turn, and bend with ease. The low back(lumbar curve) is the back’s foundation. If it damaged, the entire back – and the rest of the body – loses support.

ANATOMY OF THE LOW BACK

  • Vertebrae are bones that stack together to make up the spine. The low back has five vertebrae that support most of the body’s weight/

  • Discs are strong pads of tissue that lie between the vertebrae to support and cushion them. They also absorb shock as you move.

  • Facet joints connect the vertebrae and give the spine flexibility. The joints are lined with smooth tissue called cartilage that helps them slide and move easily.

  • The sacrum is a triangular bone located at the base of the spine. The sacroiliac(SI) joints join the sacrum to the hip bones(pelvis).

  • Muscles, tendons, and ligaments are soft tissues that help support the back and spine. Muscles move bones. Tendons connect muscle to bone. Ligaments connect bone to bone.

  • The spinal cord runs from the base of the brain through the spine. It holds spinal nerves that carry messages to and the rest of the body. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It runs from the lower spine through the buttocks and into the back of the legs and the feet.

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