Where is the intervertebral space located in the spine?

The intervertebral space is located between each pair of vertebrae in the spine. Several important parts of the spine are located in this area, including:

  • Intervertebral discs — the soft, rubbery cartilage pads that cushion the vertebrae, allowing for basic movement
  • Intervertebral foramina — the small, arch-shaped passageways for the nerve roots to extend through
  • Intervertebral or facet joints — the hinges that connect each vertebra to the one above and below it

Nerve roots are also located in this area, with the nerves branching outward through the intervertebral openings. The spine bears a large portion of the upper body’s weight, which makes the fragile components in the intervertebral space prone to wearing out. This is why so many cases of neck and back pain originate in this part of the spine. Learning more about the underlying causes of spine conditions can help you get back to normal activity if pain and limited mobility are affecting your life.

The intervertebral space and degenerative spine conditions

Intervertebral structures are subjected to many stressors. Degeneration can occur naturally with age or be accelerated by a trauma. Issues can occur in the cervical (upper), thoracic (middle) or lumbar (lower) regions of the spine.

Several spinal conditions can occur within the intervertebral spaces of the spine if wear or injury causes swelling or displacement of anatomy. Specific conditions include:

  • Bulging and herniated discs
  • Spinal bone spurs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Facet joint syndrome

These conditions are not always painful by themselves, but can cause issues if they put pressure on spinal nerves in or near the intervertebral space. Patients are usually diagnosed after dealing with symptoms of local pain and radiating symptoms like tingling and numbness that persist for more than a week.

Treatment options

Upon diagnosis of a spine condition affecting the intervertebral space, most doctors will recommend a course of conservative treatments like medication and physical therapy to relieve symptoms and improve mobility. Surgery is usually considered a last-resort treatment if weeks or months of conservative options do not improve symptoms. This is because traditional open spine surgery is a highly invasive process with many risks and difficulties.

If you are considering spine surgery — but have concerns about the hospital costs, risk of infection and the long recovery time of traditional open spine procedures — reach out to Laser Spine Institute. We perform outpatient minimally invasive spine surgery using a less than 1-inch incision. This offers a shorter recovery time^ with less risk of complication than traditional open back surgery.

Contact our dedicated team for a no-cost MRI review* to help determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine procedures.

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