9 Simple Yoga Poses To Help With Back Pain
Important structures of the low back includes the bony lumbar spine (vertebrae), discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, muscles of the low back, internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar area.
Bony lumbar spine (vertebrae) – is designed so that vertebrae “stacked” together can provide a movable support structure while also protecting the spinal cord (nervous tissue that extends down the spinal column from the brain) from injury. Each vertebrae has a spinous process, a bony prominence behind the spinal cord, which shields the cord's nervous tissue. They also have a strong bony “body” in front of the spinal cord to provide a platform suitable for weight bearing of all tissues above the buttocks. The lumbar vertebrae stack immediately atop the sacrum bone in between the buttocks.
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On each side, the sacrum meets the iliac bone of the pelvis to form the sacroiliac joint of the buttock.
•Discs -The discs are pads that serve as “cushions” between each vertebral body. They help to minimize the impact of stress forces on the spinal column. Each disc is designed like a jelly donut with a central softer component (nucleus pulposus) and a surrounding outer ring (annulus fibrosus). The central portion of the disc is capable of rupturing (herniating) through the outer ring, causing irritation of adjacent nervous tissue and sciatica, as described below.
•Ligaments -Ligaments are strong fibrous soft tissues that firmly attach bones to bones. Ligaments attach each of the vertebrae and surround each of the discs.
•Spinal cord and Nerves -The nerves that provide sensation and stimulate the muscles of the low back as well as the lower extremities (the thighs, legs, feet, and toes) exit the spinal column through bony portals called “foramen.
•Muscles – Many muscle groups that are responsible for flexing, extending, and rotating the waist, as well as moving the lower extremities, attach to the lumbar spine through tendon insertions.
•Internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen -The aorta and blood vessels that transport blood to and from the lower extremities pass in front of the lumbar spine in the abdomen and pelvis. Surrounding these blood vessels are lymph glands and involuntary nervous system tissues, which are important in maintaining bladder and bowel control. The uterus and ovaries are important pelvic structures in front of the pelvic area of women. The prostate gland is a significant pelvic structure in men. The kidneys are on either side of the back of the lower abdomen, in front of the lumbar spine.
•Skin -The skin over the lumbar area is supplied by nerves that come from nerve roots that exit from the lumbar spine.
The low back, or lumbar area, serves a number of important functions for the human body. These functions include structural support, movement, and protection of certain body tissues.
When we stand, the lower back is functioning to hold most of the weight of the body. When we bend, extend or rotate at the waist, the lower back is involved in the movement. Therefore, injury to the structures important for weight bearing, such as the bony spine, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, often can be detected when the body is standing erect or used in various movements.
Protecting the soft tissues of the nervous system and spinal cord as well as nearby organs of the pelvis and abdomen is a critical function the lumbar spine and its adjacent muscles.