To understand low back pain from in the workers compensation setting, it is important for the workers comp attorney to have a working knowledge of lumbar spine anatomy. The human spine is made up of 24 bones, called vertebrae, which are stacked on top of one another to create the spinal column. The spinal column gives the body its upright form and provides our primary support for standing erect.
From the side, the spine forms three curves. In the low back or lumbar spine, the curve is slightly inward and is called lordosis.
The lumbar spine is made up of the lower five vertebrae, referred to as L1 to L5. The lowest vertebra of the lumbar spine, L5, connects to the top of the sacrum, a triangular bone at the base of the spine that fits between the two pelvic bones.
Each vertebra is formed by a round block of bone, called a vertebral body. This large solid part of the vertebrae faces the front or ventral portion of the body. The lumbar vertebral bodies are taller and bulkier compared to the rest of the spine. This is partly because the low back has to withstand pressure from body weight and from daily actions like lifting, carrying, and twisting, especially at work. Also, large and powerful muscles attaching on or near the lumbar spine place extra force on the lumbar vertebral bodies.
A bony ring attaches to the back of each vertebral body, and face the dorsal or back of the body. When the vertebrae are stacked on top of each other, these rings form a hollow tube that runs up and down the back or your spine. This bony tube surrounds the spinal cord as it passes through the spine. Just as the skull protects the brain, the bones of the spinal column protect the spinal cord.
As the spinal cord travels from the brain down through the spine, it sends out nerves through the sides of each vertebra called nerve roots. These nerve roots connect together to form the nerves that travel throughout the body and form the body’s electrical system. The nerve roots that come out of the lumbar spine form the nerves that go to the lower limbs and pelvis. The thoracic spine nerves go to the abdomen and chest. The nerves coming out of the cervical spine go to the neck, shoulders, arms, and hands.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin McCormick Law Office attorneys know the relevant low back pain anatomy as its essential to a complete understanding of the medical records and doctor’s opinions.