Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, TX

Relief from Lower Back and Neck Pain

surgery optionsavoid surgery
      At the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI), we specialize
                 in non-surgical as well as surgical treatments
                                of Back and Neck  Pain
     Conservative to Surgical Options: MINIMALLY INVASIVE SPINE SUGERY 
 "Applying Science to the Art of Medicine"                                                  
                 Dr. Kraus is available for Neurosurgery consultation (surgical and non-surgical) in Houston.
                      Offices:  1) West Houston Medical Center
                                    2) Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital
                                    3) Katy
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      To arrange  an appointment, call 281-870-9292,  visit
or   send an e mail
              For national and international patients, we can help with  travel arrangements
                                         top doctors houston texas 2007 top docs united states neurosurgery spine   top doctors houston texas 2008 top docs united states neurosurgery spine  top doctors houston texas 2009 top docs united states neurosurgery spine   best doctors in america, united states neurosurgery spine
                                            Dr. Kraus is honored to be listed in
                                            "Best Doctors in America" (2001-2008) and
                                             "Top Doctors of Houston, Texas" (2007, 2008, 2009)     

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low back pain ache houston texas united states
Low Back Pain, can be very debilitating.  The effects of Low Back Pain in the USA are staggering!!

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   last updated
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Anatomy of low back pain


lumbar spine model

lumbar spine model

The lumbar spine consists of five lumbar vertebral bodies.  These sit on top of the sacrum, which in turn is above the coccyx (tailbone).  The lumbar spine supports the thoracic spine (which has twelvelumbar spine model vertebral levels), and this in turn supports the cervical spine (neck), which has seven levels.  Finally, the cervical spine supports the head.  It is therefore clear that the lumbar spine supports most of the weight of the body.  It's vertebral bodies are the largest of the spine, because of the large amount of weight they must bear.


                           lumbar spine vertebral                 



In the above view of a vertebral segment seen from above, the vertebral body is seen as an oval segment of bone.  This will support the bulk of the weight of the body.  In between the vertebral bodies lie the intervertebral disks, which act as shock absorbers when healthy, but when ruptured into the spinal canal, can cause pressure on the nerve roots.  From the vertebral body arise the pedicles and then the lamina.  These form the covering, and therefore the protection of the spinal nerves.  This triangular space is known as the spinal canal.  The spinous process is seen protruding from the junction of the two laminae, and is often palpable of thin people.  These spinous processes are the ridges or bumps one feels along the back of the spine.  Transverse processes are seen projecting from the junction of the pedicles and lamina.  Facet joints are joints by which one vertebral body segment is connected with the next segment. 

lumbar spine vertebral bodyHere, a vertebral body is seen from the side.  One can gain an appreciation for the complexity of the vertebral body and its attachments.


lumbar spine nerves

lumbar spine discSpinal nerves (seen on left) exit the spinal canal at every level within the spine.  When a herniated disk (right) presses upon a nerve, one experiences symptoms referable lumbar spine dermatomesto the motor and sensory distribution of the nerve.  This may amount to an area of numbness, or weakness of a motor group, or a change in the reflexes of a certain muscle group.  As seen on the right, the skin can be divided into dermatomes.  Each patch of skin has its sensory level determined by the nerve which supplies (innervates) it. 


back muscles

As was seen above, there are many processes protruding from the vertebral segments.  The facet joints are held together with capsular ligaments.  The spinous processes are held together by the interspinous ligaments.  The transverse processes are secured by the intertransverse ligaments and membrane.  There are anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments running along the front and bock of the vertebral bodies, respectively, holding the bodies together.  These are then held in place by the extensive muscular network of the low back, clearly seen above.


lumbar spine and hip and pelvisAfter the lumbar nerves leave the spinal canal, they join into larger bundles of nerves such as the sciatic nerve (from where the term sciatica comes), and the femoral nerves (seen on left in yellow and green).



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