Physiologic Function

The intervertebral disk stabilizes the spine, helps maintain its alignment, allows motion between vertebral levels, absorbs energy, and distributes loads applied to the spine.

The intervertebral disks of the spine are similar to the menisci of the knee in that both are viscoelastic shock absorbers. Like the meniscus, the disk is composed primarily of extracellular matrix, containing only few cells within it.