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Med Hypotheses. 1996 Jun;46(6):511-5.

The role of the iliolumbar ligament in low back pain.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth 76107, USA.


Low back pain is caused by a variety of etiologies. Some clinicians have postulated that much low back pain is due to trauma to the iliolumbar ligament. The iliolumbar ligament is one of the three pelvic-lumbar ligaments and develops during the 12th week of gestation. The iliolumbar ligament appears to be a major stabilizing component between the vertebral spine and the pelvis. The innervation of the iliolumbar ligament appears similar to the posterior lumbar ligaments. Our hypothesis is: micro-trauma to the iliolumbar ligament is the primary cause of many cases of chronic low back pain because (1) it is the weakest component of the multifidus triangle; (2) there is increased susceptibility to injury due to its angulated attachment; (3) it is a primary inhibitor of excess sacral flexion; (4) it is a highly innervated nociceptive tissue; and (5) it plays an increased role with progressive disc degeneration.

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