The L 1-4 dorsal rami tend to form three branches, medial, lateral, and intermediate, which are distributed, respectively, to multifidus, iliocostalis, and longissimus. The intertransversarii mediales are innervated by a branch of the dorsal ramus near the origin of the medial branch. The L 4 dorsal ramus regularly forms three branches while the L 1-3 levels the lateral and intermediate branches may, alternatively, arise from a short common stem. The L 5 dorsal ramus is much longer than the others and forms only a medial and an intermediate branch. Each lumbar medial branch innervates two adjacent zygapophysial joints and ramifies in multifidus, supplying only those fascicles which arise from the spinous process with the same segmental number as the nerve. The comparative anatomy of the lumbar dorsal rami is discussed and the applied anatomy with respect to 'rhizolysis', 'facet denervation' and diagnostic paraspinal electromyography is described.