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Posture. Lumbar spine

By Editorial Team (2)
January 30, 2022
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The lower movable spinal part is the lower back that consists of five vertebrae. At the top, they are connected with the twelfth thoracic vertebra (Th12) and at the bottom, with the first sacral vertebra (S1). Some people have not five, but six or four lumbar vertebrae. Such an anatomic variation is not a disease, but it may put the person more at risk for certain problems. The lumbar spine is connected to two massive skeletal parts: the chest and the pelvis. In the area where the lumbar vertebrae connect with the pelvis, a lumbar lever is formed.

You can do some exercises to feel the work of this lever. In a standing position, hold your head and neck motionless and try to bulge your buttocks. Your lower back will curve excessively and its depression will become deeper.

If you try to make the reverse movement, you will feel your low back becomes flat near the motionless thoracic spine and your buttocks will start moving forward.

A person with healthy posture has a slight curve in the lower back when he or she is standing up. This curve is very important because it provides a healthy position for the lower lumbar discs. This position determines whether you will have an intervertebral hernia or not. You can read about the disc disease in my book, “33 Vertebrae or I Love My Osteochondrosis” and at the website WWW.SPINANORMA.RU.  Right now, I’m just asking you to remember that this curve must ALWAYS be present in your posture!

We have to admit that pathologic posture, when lumbar lordosis is absent, is THE MOST FREQUENT POSTURE PATHOLOGY. This pose is usually combined with a strong thoracic kyphosis and the head is usually bended forward so that the curve in the cervical area also disappears. Lumbar lordosis keeps the position of lumbar intervertebral discs normal and comfortable, and loads lumbar muscles and joints evenly. If lordosis disappears, the back becomes crooked and the discs suffer. Disc pressure increases, discs split and disc hernias appear!

Even if a hernia has not happened yet, the deep back muscles are strained in such a crooked position. They can’t hold the vertebrae. When you decide to stand up straight, you will feel tremendous pain! The muscles suffering from a spasm become weaker and cannot hold the vertebrae in their right position, so you will have to stoop over again. This often happens: while a person is sitting stooped over, they feel no pain, but when they decide to take the right position, pain strikes. So incorrect posture provokes pain syndrome and it becomes impossible to return to the correct position.

The reverse situation exists when lumbar lordosis is too strong. This happens most often when a person is overweight. Try this experiment:  Totally relax in a standing position and throw your belly out in front of you as much as you can. As it grows, your belly starts pulling and turning your pelvis, including the arm of the lumbar lever. As a result, your pelvis is bending forward and your lumbar curve becomes much larger. This can cause severe overloading of intervertebral lumbar joints. Men with big bellies or overweight women suffer from back pain, especially while working in a standing position. These people may have healthy intervertebral discs and no osteochondrosis of the spine, but they will still suffer from serious and long-lasting back pain. This also explains why pregnant women suffer from lower back pain. As the fetus becomes bigger, it changes mechanical loading on the lumbar lever and overloads the lumbar vertebrae.

Many people are not overweight, but their bellies still hang down. This is due to a weak anterior abdominal wall. Adolescents, especially girls, often have this problem. This posture causes low back pain and even children can suffer from it.

Summary

  • The lumbar vertebrae and pelvis connect to form the lumbar lever.
  • The absence of a lumbar curve or its sharp exaggeration causes lower back pain.
  • Incorrect posture in the lumbar spine can cause intervertebral disc hernia. 

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