• G. Cinotti
  • F. Postacchini


Vertebrae, discs and ligaments form a column of vertebral motion segments, called functional spinal units. Each functional spinal unit includes a disc, the two adjacent vertebrae and the connecting ligaments; it represents the smallest segment of the spine showing biomechanical properties similar to those of the whole spine and, hence, is the anatomic unit of reference in biomechanical studies (81). Due to the presence of discs and ligaments, the whole spine acts as a flexible column, straight in the frontal plane and curved in the sagittal plane. The curved alignment of the spine in the sagittal plane increases spinal flexibility and the ability to withstand mechanical forces, whilst maintaining the stability of the spine (81).


Intervertebral Disc Nucleus Pulposus Disc Degeneration Annulus Fibrosus Disc Height 
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  • G. Cinotti
  • F. Postacchini

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