The intervertebral disc: Overview of disc mechanics

Daniel H. Cortes, Dawn M. Elliott

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

15 Scopus citations


The intervertebral disc is the soft tissue between the vertebral bodies. The disc function is to transmit multi-directional loads through the spine and to allow relative motion between the vertebral bodies. The intervertebral disc is composed of three distinct tissues: nucleus pulposus, annulus fibrosus, and the cartilaginous endplates. Each of these tissues has a characteristic composition and structure which provide them with unique mechanical properties. The interaction between these tissues enables the intervertebral disc to perform its function. The objective of this chapter is to describe the mechanical behavior of the individual disc tissues and then discuss how they work together in physiological loading scenarios. In addition, the effects of degeneration on the mechanics at the tissue and disc level are described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Intervertebral Disc
Subtitle of host publicationMolecular and Structural Studies of the Disc in Health and Disease
PublisherSpringer-Verlag Wien
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783709115350
ISBN (Print)3709115345, 9783709115343
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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