The Influence of Axial Compression on the Cellular and Mechanical Function of Spinal Tissues; Emphasis on the Nucleus Pulposus and Annulus Fibrosus: A Review

J Biomech Eng. 2021 May 1;143(5):050802. doi: 10.1115/1.4049749.


In light of the correlation between chronic back pain and intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration, this literature review seeks to illustrate the importance of the hydraulic response across the nucleus pulposus (NP)-annulus fibrosus (AF) interface, by synthesizing current information regarding injurious biomechanics of the spine, stemming from axial compression. Damage to vertebrae, endplates (EPs), the NP, and the AF, can all arise from axial compression, depending on the segment's posture, the manner in which it is loaded, and the physiological state of tissue. Therefore, this movement pattern was selected to illustrate the importance of the bracing effect of a pressurized NP on the AF, and how injuries interrupting support to the AF may contribute to IVD degeneration.

MeSH terms

  • Annulus Fibrosus*