Common Lumbar Injuries
Debunking 5 Common Myths about Scoliosis
Ligaments are dense strips of connective tissue that join two bones together. The vertebral column has a series of fourteen primary spinal ligaments that provide stability during motion and inactivity. These ligaments also help to protect the spinal muscles, bones, and inter-vertebral discs from injury due to movement beyond the normal range of motion.
Six of the most prominent spinal ligaments are:
- The anterior longitudinal ligament, which extends from the bottom of the head along the front side of the vertebrae and discs down to the front of the sacrum. This ligament’s function is to prevent backward bending and control the amount of curve in the neck and lower back.
- The posterior longitudinal ligament joins with the back side of the skull, vertebrae, and discs, and reaches down to the canal inside the sacrum. The posterior longitudinal ligament helps control forward flexion by becoming taut with forward bending.
- The ligamentum flavum attaches to the back of the vertebral arches and creates the spinal canal’s rear wall. This ligament also connects with the facet joint capsules. It lengthens with forward bending, and its flexible fibers provide strong support.
- The interspinous ligament follows the path between spinous processes on the back of the vertebrae and joins with both the supraspinous ligament and the ligamentum flavum.
- The inter-transverse ligaments attach the ends of the transverse processes of each vertebra and help to withstand opposite side flexion.
- The supraspinous ligament links the spinous process tops together and joins with a tough, fibrous covering called the thoracolumbar fascia.
Spinal ligament sprains are a common source of back pain and happen when the structure tears. Symptoms of a sprained spinal ligament include pain and muscle spasms in the affected area. This type of injury occurs most often in the low back and can require prolonged healing time. Conservative care such as medication, rest, gentle rehabilitative exercise with a physical therapist, and supportive racing can effectively manage the problem.
If you have low back pain caused by a recent injury and would like to learn about our treatment choices, please contact our San Antonio, New Braunfels, or Sequin spine care offices.