JOHN T. ALESI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN T. ALESI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nerve compression in lumbar stenosis. Labelled artworks of sagittal sections through the lumbar region of the spine, comparing a healthy spine (left) with a case of lumbar stenosis (right). The L2 to L5 vertebrae and the first fused vertebra (S1) of the sacrum are shown. Between each vertebra are discs of fibrocartilage (blue) forming joints that allow the spine to bend and flex. The nerves bundles below the spinal cord (the cauda equina, yellow) are surrounded by the vertebrae. Degeneration of the vertebrae at right (red areas) has caused narrowing (stenosis) and pressure on the nerves. This can cause persistent pain and may require surgery.
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