What is the centrum?

The centrum is the main, weight-supporting body of a vertebra. This oval-shaped region forms the front of each vertebra and functions as the base for the pedicles. Pedicles are bony protrusions that extend off the centrum, forming the perimeter of the canal that the spinal cord travels through. The spinal facet joints extend off the back of the main body as well to connect one vertebra to another. The centrum are also the attachment points for the spinal discs that rest between each of the vertebrae and provide cushioning for movement.

Of the two dozen or so vertebrae in the cervical (upper), thoracic (middle) and lumbar (lower) spine, the only one without a centrum (or vertebral body) is the topmost — the first cervical vertebra, called the atlas (C1). The atlas (C1) is a ring-shaped vertebra located directly under the skull, supporting the head. The other vertebral bodies vary in size and shape, depending on location along the spine. The bodies of the vertebrae at the bottom of the spine in the sacrum are fused.

The centrum and common spinal issues

Because the centrum and the spinal discs between them bear much of the body’s weight, especially within the lumbar spine, they can be related to several disorders that lead to neck or back pain. Examples of these spine conditions include:

  • Compression fracture
  • Osteoporosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Spondylolisthesis

When these conditions are present, displacement of the centrum can lead to compression or irritation of nerve roots or the spinal cord. This can cause symptoms including chronic neck or back pain as well as radiating symptoms like tingling, numbness and weakness in the extremities. In many cases, these symptoms can be managed conservatively, using treatments such as physical therapy, exercise, pain medications or massage therapy. If debilitating symptoms persist after weeks or months of conservative treatment, a physician might suggest surgery as an option to deal with a problem affecting the centrum or the structures surrounding it.

Laser Spine Institute treatment options

Laser Spine Institute offers an alternative to traditional open back surgery, helping patients avoid hospital-associated costs and long recovery periods.^ The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute use advanced techniques to perform minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that can help you find relief from neck or back pain.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today for a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.