fractures of the vertebral endplate

You can deal effectively with fractures of the vertebral endplates by keeping fluid pumping through this fine cartilage interface between the discs and the vertebrae. 

The vertebral endplates are the thin cartilaginous interfaces between the discs and the vertebrae above and below. The VEPs are dotted with fine pores that blood vessels in the rich capillary bed in the vertebral bodies butt up to, in order to harvest nutrients to be carried into the heart of the disc. The pores are more densely concentrated in the centre of the disc, over the nucleus, making the endplate weaker here. This means that fractures of the vertebral endplate are most common over the central zone of the vertebral body.  

Schmorls nodes are evidence of past fractures of the vertebral endplates ~ and extremely common in everybody's X-rays

The vertebral endplates are the weakest component part of the spine. They can easily suffer minute fracture with traumatic forces transmitted up through the spine. This can be done in any number of ways by traumatic forces within physiological range, such as sitting down hard on the bottom, or even pulling at something, such as a pulling a rope in a tug'o war, or a stubborn root in the garden. Young men in the Forces have more than their fair share of fractures of the vertebral endplates: pilot ejection seats and military exercises that involve jumping off ladder ropes with heavy backpacks can cause this sort of trouble. 

Vertebral endplate fracture causes disc degeneration and progressive breakdown

An innocuous spinal compression mishap may sometimes start the steady decline of the disc, ending in prolapse of segmental instability

At the time of the incident, patients often say they heard a small popping sound, ping or crack from their back. Although it doesn't cause undue pain and alarm at the time, people often relate their back was 'never quite the same afterwards'. In the aftermath of VEP fracture the vertebra develops typical scoop-shaped indentations in the surface of the vertebral body called Schmorl's nodes. These can be seen on the scans and any radiologist will tell you these phenomena are extremely common, giving some indication to how often we pop a vent in the VEP with never knowing it.

Because they disturb nutrient pathways, fractures of this kind can however, fast-track the breakdown of the intervertebral disc. As a legacy of the healing process, the small pores in the cartilage of the endplate are occluded. At the same time, the bone immediately behind the endplate can become tougher and harder (sclerotic) and this too impedes the nutrient traffic in and out of the disc. The impairment in nutrient exchange can tip the borderline metabolic balance of the disc and speed disc breakdown. Once again, it is not the fracture of the vertebral endplate in-and-of-itself that causes the mischief, but the aftermath effects in the ensuing years. 

fractures of the vertebral endplates will repair more effectively by keeping moving

grand spinal movement shunts fluid through the intervertebral discs

Nutrient pathways through a previously fractured vertebral endplate will be encouraged to return by keeping the spine moving as normally as possible. Normal movement acts like a pump that sucks fluid through the endplate from the blood reservoirs in the neighbouring vertebral bodies. Conversely, keeping the back as still as possible and trying to lessen movement allows the endplates to remain impervious and this starves the discs. 

For more information visit Spine Disorders

Return to SimpleBackPain Home page



Choose from 5 Great Video Packages and the Audio Do-it-Yourself Spinal Decompression Class

in the

Sarah Key Video Library

(videos not downloadable on iPad and iPhone - see The Back App for downloading to these devices)


Sarah Key's Self Help Video Library



If you're not in Australia, buying the books through Amazon.com is a whole lot faster and cheaper than buying through us!





NEW!

Sarah's newest ebook, 'Be Careful about Back Surgery' is now available on Kindle for only $4.95











Or Buy the Books from Amazon UK



Australian and New Zealand buyers can buy the books from

Booktopia





Sign up for our newsletter and receive:

The Trouble with Sitting

Our free downloadable and printable document will tell you all you need to know about sitting, why it can be bad for you and what to do about it.  Learn how to reverse the damaging effects of sitting slumped in front of your computer all day! 

All you have to do to receive this free resource is fill in your email address below. 

You will also receive our newsletter which we send out from time to time with news of our latest pages, articles and products.   You can unsubscribe any time you like, and don't worry, your email address is totally safe with us. 


Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)
Then

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Simple Back Pain News.




New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.