Round the backBMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7343.957 (Published 20 April 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:957
- Jeff Aronson, clinical pharmacologist
The Latin word lumbus, from which we get lumbar, meant the loin, and was usually used in the plural, lumbi. In the 19th century the middle of the back in the region of the loins became known as the lumbar region—hence a lumbar puncture, first performed on dead bodies by Cotugno in the middle of the 18th century but not introduced into clinical practice until 1891, by Quincke.
In Latin the suffix -ago, or -igo, or -ugo was often used to denote a disease, giving us albugo (a white opacification of the cornea), caligo (dim vision), impetigo, intertrigo, lentigo, porrigo (dandruff), prurigo, serpigo, tentigo (priapism), vertigo, and vitiligo, more than half of them diseases …