Ashley Goordeen MD

Below is a brief discussion regarding the anatomy, function intervertebral disc
and what a disc herniation is:

Components of the Intervertebral Disc

The intervertebral disc has three main components:

1) The intervertebral disc is composed of an endplate which is a layer of cartilage that
covers the central parts of the superior and inferior vertebral bodies. Endplates are
responsible for perfusion between vertebral capillaries and disc cells, and uniform
transfer of load to the disc.
2) The nucleus pulposus represents a matrix of cells and water that distribute load
within the disc during movement and static positions.
3) The annulus fibrosus represents densely packed collagen located around the
nucleus pulposus. The purposed of the annulus is to distribute pressures placed on the
disc while protecting the nucleus.

Function of the Intervertebral Disc

Intervertebral discs are responsible for stability during load bearing positions, balancing
stresses exerted on the spine during movement and providing a stable matrix for
numerous cellular processes.

Intervertebral Disc Herniation

Disc herniation is a term describing localized displacement of disc material beyond the
limits of intervertebral disc space. (Disc material may be nuclear tissue, cartilage,
annular tissue or apophyseal bone fragment or any combination thereof).

Categories of disc herniations include: broad-based, focal, extrusion, and protrusion.
These categories are defined by amount and shape of displaced disc material
displaced in comparison to the circumference of the disc.

Terms such as paracentral, lateral and far lateral are further descriptions of disc
herniations that clinicians may use to describe the location of the disc herniation.

A disc herniation alters the discs ability to maintain cellular balance within, bear truncal
load effectively and may release inflammatory enzymes that lead to nerve pain and

Questions on how to maintain a healthy spine, rehabilitate and treat the back pain from disc herniations
should be discussed with your health care provider.


Get in touch with Mana Spine today to learn more.