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transitional spinal anatomy

Transitional Spinal Anatomy – Low Back Pain Series

The “Low Back Pain” series is a collection of short, high-yield articles designed to help explain the common causes of low pain from a radiology perspective.

Diagnosis: Transitional spinal anatomy

Clinical Keywords: Low back pain, sacralization, lumbarization, hypoplastic ribs

Clinical Problems:

  1. Confusion with vertebral body numbering, which can complicate surgery
  2. Source of low back pain, especially in younger people


In Plain Language:

Every person has a backbone or spine made up of different bone pieces linked together called vertebrae – 7 in the neck, 12 in the mid-back, and 5 in the lower back (lumbar). At the very bottom are fused vertebrae called the sacrum and coccyx.  Some people are born with too many or too few vertebrae in the lumbar region or sacrum.  Vertebrae can also link together improperly. All of these issues are lumped together and called “transitional spinal anatomy.”


If you have low back pain and/or transitional anatomy and would like a personalized video explanation of your findings, please let us know. We can help you learn how to read your MRI report. If you would like more information about related posts you can view our low back pain series such as Facet Arthropathy or visit our Youtube Channel.

To buy your own personalized video report click here.

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