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Functional Anatomy

Functional Anatomy

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Published by: webby2k12 on Mar 29, 2012
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The lumbar spine and pelvis support and transmit the weight of the
upper body to the lower extremities. The pelvis has a limited amount of
movement between its bones and is supported by strong ligaments. The
sacroiliac joint has a very limited amount of movement and is supported
by the strong posterior and interosseous sacroiliac ligaments, plus the
thinner anterior sacroiliac ligament. The interosseous ligaments are the

86 Lumbar spine and pelvis

primary structures involved in the transfer of upper body weight to the
pelvis and then to the lower extremities. Movement at the sacroiliac
joint is further held in check by the strong sacrotuberous ligaments.
These ligaments run from the sacrum to the ischial tuberosity of the
pelvis and prevent superior rotation of the inferior end of the sacrum.
The lumbosacral joint is supported by the iliolumbar ligaments which
run from the transverse processes of the fifth lumbar vertebra to the
iliac bones of the pelvis. There is also a joint between the sacrum and
coccyx, although it does not contribute to weight transfer to the lower
extremities. The sacrococcygeal joint is supported by anterior and
posterior sacrococcygeal ligaments, which run longitudinally from the
sacrum to the coccyx.
The lumbar spine is the distal end of the mobile portion of the
vertebral column. The vertebral bodies are large and strong and the
articular facets are oriented obliquely to prevent intervertebral rotation
movements. The lumbar spine has a large flexion – extension range
of motion and is supported by the common longitudinally running
ligaments of the vertebral column (see thoracic region – ligaments). The
strong and wide anterior longitudinal ligament runs the length of the
vertebral column and is attached to the anterior surface of the vertebral
bodies and intervertebral discs; it helps to prevent hyperextension of
the vertebral column. The thinner and weaker posterior longitudinal
ligament is attached to the posterior surface of the intervertebral discs
and lies inside the vertebral canal. The posterior wall of the vertebral
canal is formed by the ligamentum flavum, which connects adjacent
vertebral arches at the laminae. The remaining ligaments connect
the various processes of the vertebrae. The interspinous ligaments lie
between adjacent spinous processes and weakly connect them. The
strong supraspinous ligament connects the tips of the spinous processes
and helps to prevent hyperflexion. There are also thin and weak
intertransverse ligaments in the lumbar region which connect adjacent
transverse processes.

Lumbar spine and pelvis 87

See also lumbar spine and pelvis; lumbar spine and pelvis – bones;
lumbar spine and pelvis – joints; lumbar spine and pelvis – muscles.

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