What is the centrum?

The centrum is the main, weight-supporting body of a vertebra that is cushioned by the spinal disc. 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, which enable flexibility, extend off the back of the main body as well connect one vertebra to another. The centrum is also the attachment points for the spinal discs that rest between each of the vertebrae.

Of the two dozen or so vertebrae in the cervical (upper), thoracic (middle) and lumbar (lower) spine, the only one without a centrum is the uppermost 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 the location along the spine. The bodies of the vertebra at the bottom of the spine in the sacrum are fused. Learn more about which spine disorders are associated with the centrum in the following articles.

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:

  • 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 through nonsurgical methods by using treatments such as physical therapy, exercise, pain medications or massage therapy. If debilitating symptoms persist after weeks or months of conservative treatment, a doctor may suggest surgery as an option to deal with the associated discomfort resulting from a centrum displacement.

Treatment options for centrum-related disorders

Laser Spine Institute’s streamlined experience avoids hospital-associated costs and helps patients get back to their lives faster with no lengthy recovery.^ The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute perform advanced techniques during minimally invasive spine surgery, which use a less than 1-inch incision to help you find relief from your discomfort. Contact our dedicated team today with any questions or concerns regarding our muscle sparing procedures.

We are pleased to offer a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a candidate for one of our outpatient surgeries.