A lumbar spine X-ray helps doctors find abnormalities in the lower spine area, such as broken bones, fractures, thinning bones due to osteoporosis, slipped discs and abnormal curves, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The X-ray works by using radiation to take a picture of the area.
Lumbar spine X-rays allow doctors to have a clear picture of the bones in the region, explains Healthline. Doctors commonly prescribe them for patients with lower back pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, lower spine injuries or spinal birth defects. Lumbar spine X-rays do not, however, show images of muscles or nerves. If a patient has muscle or nerve damage, doctors commonly order an MRI.