J Korean Soc Spine Surg.  2001 Sep;8(3):264-273. 10.4184/jkss.2001.8.3.264.

Anatomy and Physiology of Lumbar Spine

  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, College of Medicine, Konyang University, Taejeon, Korea.


The spinal column is separated into the 7 cervical vertebra, the 12 thoracic vertebra, the 5 lumbar vertebra, the 5 sacral vertebra and the 4 coccygeal vertebra. The cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebra are named as the movable vertebra and the sacral and coccygeal vertebra are named as the fixed vertebra. The lumbar spine includes five large vertebra situated between the rela-tively immobile rib cage and the pelvis. A typical lumbar vertebra has 2 main structures which are vertebral body and vertebral arch. The vertebral body is the anterior portion of a vertebra and the vertebral arch is the posterior portion of it and surrounds the vertebral foramen. In contrast to thoracic vertebra, lumbar vertebra has a wide disc space, sagittally oriented facets, and suf-ficient space between its lamina to permit a considerable range of motion. This report will explains some important normal anatomic features of the lumbar spine and sacrum including with their musclatures and neurovascular structures.


Lumbar spine; Anatomy

MeSH Terms

Range of Motion, Articular


  • Fig. 1. Lumbar vertebra(Lateral view).1; Superior articular process. 2; Superior articular surface. 3; Vertebral body. 4; Inferior articular process. 5; Spinous process.6; Pedicle. 7; Transverse process. 8; Mammillary process.

  • Fig. 2. Fifth lumbar vertebra(Cranial view).1; Superior articular process. 2; Superior articular surface. 3; Vertebral arch(lamina). 4; Spinous process. 5; Vertebral foramen. 6; Inferior articular process. 7; Transverse process. 8; Pedicle. 9; Vertebral body.

  • Fig. 3. Pelvic surface of the sacrum.1; Superior terminal surface. 2; Auricular surface of sacrum. 3; Transverse lines(ridges). 4; Pelvic sacral foramen. 5; Inferior lateral angle. 6; Piriformis. 7; Iliacus.

  • Fig. 4. Dorsal surface of the sacrum.1; Superior articular process. 2; Posterior sacral foramen. 3; Inferior lateral angle. 4; Sacral cornua. 5; Apex of sacrum. 6; Sacral hiatus. 7; Gluteus maximus. 8; Erector spinae. 9; Sacral tuberosity. 10; Multifidus.

  • Fig. 5. Lumbar vertebra(Midsagittal view).1; Anterior longitudinal ligament. 2; Vertebral body. 3; Posteior longitudinal ligament. 4; Pedicle. 5; Vertebral arch(lamina). 6; Superior articular process. 7; Ligamentum flavum. 8; Supraspinous ligament. 9; Spinous process. 10; Interspinous ligament. 11; Joint capsule. 12; Basivertebral vein. 13; Intervertebral disc.

  • Fig. 6. Posterior longitudinal ligament of Lumbar vertebra.1; Pedicle. 2; Intervertebral disc. 3; Posterior longitudinal ligament.

  • Fig. 7. Ligamentum flavum of Lumbar Vertebra.1; Pedicle. 2; Ligamentum flavum. 3; Vertebral arch(lamina).4; Inferior articular process.

  • Fig. 8. Cross section of Back, 4th lumbar vertebra.

  • Fig. 9. Thoracolumbar fascia.1; External oblique muscle. 2; Internal oblique muscle. 3; Transversus abdominis muscle. 4; Transversalis fascia. 5; Quadratus lumborum muscle. 6; Psoas major muscle. 7; Thoracolumbar fascia. 8; Latissimus dorsi muscle.

  • Fig. 10. Muscles of the vertebral column.1; Rectus capitis posterior minor. 2; Rectus capitis posterior major. 3; Obliquus capitis superior. 4; Obliquus capitis inferior. 5; Semispinalis capitis. 6; Logissimus capitis. 7; Longissimus cervicis. 8; Iliocostalis cervicis and thoracis. 9; 6th thoracic vertebra. 10; Semispinalis thoracis. 11; Multifidus. 12; Erector spinae. 13; 1st lumbar vertebra. 14; Iliocostalis lumborum. 15; Longissimus thoracis. 16; Spinalis thoracis. 17; Iliocostalis thoracis. 18; Longissimus cervicis. 19; Iliocostalis cervicis. 20; 7th cervical vertebra. 21; Splenius cervicis. 22; Semispinalis cervicis. 23; Splenius capitis.

  • Fig. 11. Conus Medullaris and Cauda Equina(Ventral)

  • Fig. 12. Internal and external vertebral venous plexus.


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