What is a Schmorl Nodule? Is it dangerous?

Our spine is made up of vertebral bones stacked on top of each other . The front part of these bones is like a cylinder and is called the body . On the back, there are two legs called lamina . Between the trunk and the laminae there is a space called the spinal canal . A schmorl nodule may occur between these spaces.

There are structures called discs (intervertebral discs) between the bodies of the adjacent vertebral bones . While the inside of the discs is filled with a gel-like substance, the wall consists of strong connective tissue fibers. Connective tissue fibers can be worn out due to excessive strain, trauma, repetitive movements, and aging A hernia occurs when the gel-like interior protrudes into the spinal canal at the back.

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Sometimes the contents of the disc protrude upwards or downwards towards the vertebral bodies. Here they are; Schmorl nodules. Schmorl’s nodule occurs mostly in the back and lumbar spine.

The edges of the vertebral body are rigid (cortical bone) ; inner parts are porous like sponge (trabecular bone) . Inside, there is also bone marrow . The hard bone layer adjacent to the disc is called the endplate . This relatively thin part may break as a result of trauma, aging, or structural predisposition, and the disc contents may protrude upwards or downwards into the spinal bone.

Schmorl’s nodules are mostly chronic , that is, they have been present for a very long time without knowing when they occur and are seen incidentally on MRI. Chronic schmorl nodules usually do not cause any complaints. They are not dangerous. However, nodules that develop suddenly as a result of trauma can cause pain by creating edema (inflammation) in the bone marrow. This image can be confused with spondylodiscitis, which is a true infection.

Schmorl nodules are among the diagnostic criteria of Scheuermann’s disease , which is a disease that causes back hump in young people.

Schmorl Nodule Treatment

Schmorl nodules usually do not cause any complaints. They are found by chance in the MRI film taken for a reason such as low back pain. They can also be detected on X-ray films.

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Cause of low back pain; There may be problems such as muscle strain, calcification, lumbar slip, and herniated disc. The solution to these problems is, in most cases, physical therapy.

  • Exercises to strengthen the waist and abdominal muscles,
  • avoiding activities that increase pain
  • hot or cold applications are the first-line treatment options.

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