How to Identify and Treat Lumbar Spinal Disorders

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Colorado spine surgeon Dr. Donald Corenman lectures to physicians, therapists and chiropractors on how to identify and treat lumbar spinal disorders. This lecture is not geared towards the laymen, but laymen’s can learn more about the clinical terms throughout Dr. Corenman’s website.

The key to rehabilitation is to start to think of how the various spinal structures function and how they can fail. Then, you can think of how this failure will manifest as symptoms. Finally, understanding how different loading positions will affect these structures and understanding how to reverse or ameliorate this disorder.

During his lecture, Dr. Corenman discusses anatomy, physiology, function, alignment, pain generators, biomechanics, degeneration and injury, and treatment protocols for lower back pain. The spine is a complex structure. The function of the structure provides enough flexibility to allow positioning of head and trunk in space for ADLs. The spine houses the neutral structures so it must have strong resistance to excess motion that could damage the spinal cord and nerves. The ligaments and discs serve as passive resistors and dampeners of motion.

A basic overview of the anatomy of the lumbar spine includes 5 lumbar vertebra. The discs are sandwiched between the the vertebra anteriorly. The discs act as shock absorbers for the spine. The alignment is “straight” on AP and lordosis on lateral (due to trapezoidal shape of the discs). The facets posteriorly act as “railroad tracks” and “doorstops”. The spinal canal is in a posterior aspect to the vertebra and the nerve roots exit between the vertebra.

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