The lamina is an area at the back of the vertebral arch that makes up the roof of the spinal canal. The lamina is one of the structures more commonly affected in spinal stenosis. A portion of the lamina is removed during laminectomy/discectomy for treatment of herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis.
Laminectomy is a surgery that involves the complete removal of the lamina, an area at the back of the vertebral arch that makes up the roof of the spinal canal. Laminectomy is performed for treatment of herniated discs, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and problematic bone spurs. It is also done to create more space in the canal for the spinal nerves.
Laminoplasty is a surgery that opens up the lamina like a door to create more room in the spinal canal. Laminoplasty is performed to remove pressure from the spine usually caused by spinal stenosis. Cervical laminoplasty (laminoplasty in the neck region) is beneficial to patients suffering from spinal cord compression and myelopathy.
Laminotomy is the surgical removal of only a portion of the lamina on just one side. Laminotomy is to be differentiated from laminectomy, which is a complete removal of the lamina. The advantage of laminotomy is the maintenance of the original supportive function of the lamina and the decreased chances of post-operative side-effects.
Lateral stenosis (also lateral recess stenosis or foraminal stenosis) is the narrowing of the spinal canal on the lateral side. This causes a reduction in the amount of space in the exit opening (foramen) of the spinal canal, also known as the lateral recess. This may lead to a pinching of the nerve roots as they exit through the foramen, resulting in progressive worsening pain in the legs. Surgical treatments for lateral stenosis include laminectomy or discectomy.
Leg pain is often associated with problems with the nerves in the lower back. Symptoms include pain, numbness, and weakness. The sciatic nerve is commonly involved in leg pain causing this condition to be referred to generally as sciatica or radiculopathy (preferred term for medical practitioners).
A ligament is the tissue that joins one bone to another at or near a joint. The ligaments function to stabilize joints. When ligaments are stretched excessively it can lead to tearing. This is referred to as a sprain.
Ligamentum flavum is the ligament that joins the laminae of adjacent vertebrae from the second cervical vertebrae (C1) to the first sacral vertebrae (S1). Ligamentum flavum is associated with lumbar spinal stenosis. The ligamentum flavum may deteriorate over time due to the decreased elastin to collagen ratio, hypertrophy, or the natural increased thickening of the tissues (age-related fibrosis). This deterioration is strongly associated with lumbar spinal stenosis.
Local anesthetics are any drugs used to reduce the feeling of pain at the site of application. Examples of local anesthetics are procaine and lidocaine. Due to the fact that it only blocks pain at the site of application, there is minimal risk of drowsiness, constipation, and breathing problems. Local anesthetics also reduce the need for opiods which are used for severe pain.
Lordosis occurs when the lumbar spine (lower back) is curved inwardly (right above the buttocks). A small amount of lordosis is considered as normal. When lordosis is excessive it is called swayback. You can tell a person has lordosis when there is a large space under the lower back when sleeping face up. When children have lordosis it is called benign juvenile lordosis. Benign juvenile lordosis often corrects itself as the child grows older. A popular cause of lordosis is spondylolisthesis.
Lumbago is an archaic, non-medical synonym for lower back pain or back pain in general. Lower back pain has so many causes leading often to a difficult diagnosis. Lower back pain may be as a result of problems with soft tissues, bones, joints, discs, and nerves. The cause of back pain may be mechanical (due to abnormal movement of the spine), accidental (due to injuries such as sprains and fractures), or diseases/illnesses. The pain is usually as a result of nerve supply to one of these areas. Medications for back pain include analgesics and NSAIDs.
The lumbar spine, also called the lower spine, is located in the lower region of the spine. The lumbar spine consists of five vertebral bodies (L1-L5) located between the lower thoracic spine and the sacrum. The location of the lumbar spine is about five or six inches below the shoulder blade. It is also at the point where the spine curves inward in the direction of the abdomen – this curve is known as lordosis. The lowest two segments of the lumbar spine (L1-L5 and L5-S1) carry the most weight and hence are most prone to abnormalities and accidents.
Lumbar stenosis is the narrowing of bones that make up the lumbar spine. This narrowing puts pressure on the nerve roots and causes symptoms such as lower back pain, sciatica, and numbness. Aging is a big contributing factor toward lumbar stenosis. Lumbar stenosis can be diagnosed with a physical exam and imaging tests such as x-ray, MRI, and CT scans. Non-surgical treatments include NSAIDs, epidural injections, and exercise.
The lumbosacral region is where the fifth lumbar vertebra (L5) meets with the first sacral vertebra (S1). The “lumbosacral junction” is where both vertebral bodies articulate with each other. The L5 and S1 vertebrae are joined together by two joints called zygapophyseal joints (facet joints). The most common sources of pain from the lumbosacral region are disc herniation of the L5-S1 disc, degenerative disc disease of the L5-S1 disc, and isthmic spondylolisthesis of L5-L1 vertebrae.