Lumbar spine ligaments – have you ever heard of them?

19th June 2021

I bet, when you complained to your doctor about your lower back pain, he or she did not mention lumbar spine ligaments as a possible culprits. And there is a reason for this omission: until regenerative orthopaedics emerged it was impossible to effectively treat the lumbar spine ligaments.

What are ligaments ?

Ligaments are elastic, tough tissue connecting bone to bone and surrounding joints. Their role is to stabilise and limit the movement. If they become overstretched or torn their functions are impaired and joint or spine becomes unstable and potentially painful, swollen and inflamed. Moreover, ligament itself can hurt and contribute to joint or spine pain.

Traditional approach to lower back pain

The traditional way  lower back pain is diagnosed and treated does not recognise ligaments as a potential problem. It rather focuses on discs, facet joints, nerves and so on. The main reason for it is that the traditional low back pain management, such as steroid injections, nerve ablation, has nothing to offer to address ligaments.

Lumbar spine ligaments

There are several ligaments in the spine. Some of them, like anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments extend from upper neck all way down to sacrum (back bone). They hold all spine vertebrae and discs in right position. They also protect discs from protrusion. Another one, ligamentum flavum, also runs from the top of the spine to the sacrum. When it get lax it causes spinal stenosis and severe back pain and weakness in the legs. There are also small ligaments, such as interspinous ligament, holding together smaller bits of the spine. When they become dysfunctional, the spine becomes unstable. Instability as such is not painful but leads to problems with facet joints, discs and so on. In such cases treating these structures doesn’t solve the problem as the underlying issue is with the ligaments.

Recent study

A recently published study shows an interesting relation between degenerative disc disease (DDD) and lumbar spine ligaments weakness. The authors have shown that DDD is associated with problems with posterior longitudinal ligament and ligamentum flavum as well as interspinous ligament (IS).

Regenerative treatments

Regenerative orthopaedics offers unique opportunities to treat spine ligaments. We use precise injections of Platelet Rich Plasma into various specific ligaments, often reducing spinal stenosis and improving spine stability. All injections are carried out using x-ray and/or ultrasound guidance for better accuracy and precision.

So, if you suffer from lower back pain, it is always worth checking your spine ligaments and treat them if necessary.