On the Computational Biomechanics of the Intervertebral Disc

  • A. P. G. CastroEmail author
  • P. Flores
  • J. C. P. Claro
  • António M. G. Completo
  • J. L. Alves
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computational Vision and Biomechanics book series (LNCVB, volume 35)


The intervertebral disc (IVD) is a central piece for spine biomechanics. When the IVD fails, there is a high chance that one is suffering from degenerative disc disease (DDD), which is one of the largest health problems faced worldwide. However, DDD and back pain are also strictly related to the other structures in the spine, such as the vertebral bodies (VBs) or the connecting ligaments. An important amount of experimental and numerical works have studied the spine, focusing on the IVD, the VB or the whole spinal segment, but questions on how degeneration occurs and what causes it are still to be fully answered. This chapter deals with finite element (FE) simulations of the non-degenerated human IVD time-dependent behaviour, using a generic IVD + VB FE model. The outcomes are inside the scope of different sources of experimental and numerical literature data, proving that this model is useful to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy loading levels (shown here as above 600–800 N in activity periods for human spine). In other words, the numerical simulations with this FE model demonstrated potential to mimic the IVD. The biomechanical behaviour of the spine is still dependent on multiple factors, but this increased knowledge on overload levels definitely helps to reduce the risk of DDD and other spine-related diseases to occur.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. P. G. Castro
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. Flores
    • 2
  • J. C. P. Claro
    • 2
  • António M. G. Completo
    • 3
  • J. L. Alves
    • 2
  1. 1.IDMEC, Instituto Superior TécnicoUniversity of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of MinhoGuimarãesPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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