Vertebral Disc

Last Updated: July 30, 2019

Definition - What does Vertebral Disc mean?

A vertebral disc is a small disc shaped fibrocartilaginous cushion located in the spine. The actual disc has no nerve endings and no blood supply. Therefore, they cannot repair themselves. They are full of a collagen fiber that acts like a shock absorber and cushions the vertebra from rubbing against each other, which can cause serious pain and discomfort. Similar to a jelly doughnut the outer portion is more solid and the inner portion is softer.


If any of the 23 discs are injured, the injury can cause a person in the workplace to avoid any motion that aggravates the pain. It can also cause the worker to concentrate more on the pain than the task at hand.

WorkplaceTesting explains Vertebral Disc

A vertebral disc is one of the primary body parts injured on the job. In the average body the spine, vertebra and discs hold up to half the body weight. The other half is supported by muscle. The vertebras in the cervical spine area actually allow blood to flow into the brain. Any injury to the spine in this area could possibly restrict the brain’s blood supply and cause brain damage.


Aging and accidents are the prime culprits in the discs degenerating and losing some or all of their outer protection as well as some of the softer inner cushion. Individuals may complain of a herniated disc. However, the disc is not actually herniated as such. What has happened is that some of the cushion protrudes out more from one side than another and makes the disc lop-sided. This can cause a great deal of pain.

In humans there are 23 discs. In the neck area, also known as the cervical region, there are six. The middle of the back, or the thoracic area, has 12. Finally, the lumbar region or lower back has five.


The vertebras in the middle of the back are quite rigid and fixed in their position. It is rare to have a disc problem here without some sort of accident or hard strike. Because the five lower vertebras really support most of the weight, they are larger than the other vertebras and discs. This is the area where most of those suffering from vertebral disc injuries or illness will complain the most about discomfort and pain.


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