Where is an intervertebral disc located?

An intervertebral disc is located in between most of the round bones that stack to form the spinal column, called vertebrae. In total, there are 24 individual vertebrae in the upper three regions of spine, with intervertebral discs in between each set except the top two in the upper neck, directly below the skull.

Intervertebral discs are located throughout the entire spine:

  • Cervical intervertebral discs are located in the top of the spine, in the neck.
  • Thoracic intervertebral discs are located in the middle of the spine, adjacent to the rib cage.
  • Lumbar intervertebral discs are located in the lower spine.
  • The sacrum and coccyx are at the very bottom of the spine. The additional nine vertebrae in these sections are naturally fused together and do not have intervertebral discs.

What happens when an intervertebral disc moves from its original location?

Because of the amount of pressure they have to withstand on a daily basis, these discs are prone to conditions that can push them out of their normal place in the spinal column. This can be the result of a sudden trauma, or it can be the result of gradual degeneration. These conditions, which can include bulging discs, herniated discs and degenerative disc disease can become painful if any disc material puts pressure on nerves in the spine.

What are the treatment options for displaced intervertebral discs?

Upon diagnosing a condition affecting one of the intervertebral discs, most doctors will recommend a course of conservative treatment options. Periods of rest, physical therapy, medication, exercise and improving posture can help patients with pain and mobility problems enough to regain normal activity. Surgery is usually seen as a last-resort treatment due to the highly invasive nature of most procedures.

If you’re dealing with an intervertebral disc that has bulged, torn open or lost its height and have not gained relief from conservative therapies, reach out to Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures are an alternative to traditional open spine procedures performed in a hospital setting. By accessing the spine with a less than 1-inch incision, these procedures spare important supporting muscles and help patients experience a lower risk of complications like infection.

To find out if you may be a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute, contact our dedicated team today for a no-cost MRI review.*

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