Schmorl’s nodes are an extremely common kind of lesion that may be seen within the spine. They form as the tissue in the intervertebral discs sags and is pushed up or down into adjacent vertebrae.

Nodes of Schmorl


cause no symptoms. Doctors might find them while conducting imaging tests for different reasons. If a patient does not suffer from any signs, they typically don’t require treatment.

If someone is experiencing problems with mobility or pain due to a Schmorl’s nerve doctor may suggest an alternative treatment that includes painkillers and rest.

This article examines Schmorl’s Nodes, their causes, their diagnosis, and treatment.

Schmorl’s nodes, also called intervertebral disc herniations are tiny, round lesions which develop on the vertebrae, the bones that form the spine.

They happen in the intervertebral disc a cartilage-like piece which is located between the two bones is ruptured and tissue from the inside presses against the vertebrae that are adjacent, changing its shape.

The discs are often herniated sideways however, in a Schmorl’s Node the disc herniates upwards or downwards into the adjacent vertebra because of issues that affect the vertebral endsplate. The endplate is located between the discs and bones, and prevents discs from expanding.

Intervertebral discs serve as shock absorbers. They consist of a jellylike central part and a stiff however flexible outside. If the flexible component of the disc is turned into a swollen, soft part could expand out. If the bulge comes into contact with bone marrow in of the vertebrae it may cause inflammation.

Schmorl’s nodes may be found anywhere in the spinal column, however they typically affect the upper lower spine.

Schmorl’s nodes are very frequent. They can be seen in the lumbar spine MRIs especially for males.

According to a study published in the year 2019 Schmorl’s Nodes are found in as high as 70% of population. However, their frequency is extremely varied, with some studies finding that less people have Schmorl’s Nodes than this.

The nodes of Schmorl are

Asymptomatic, but often

In other words, people generally have no signs. These are usually an incidental result of MRI scans performed by doctors to determine or detect other medical conditions.

But, a person could be experiencing an abrupt onset of lower back discomfort and/or worsening chronic back discomfort following minor injuries. In rare instances, Schmorl’s Nodes become inflamed and develop infections.

Research suggests that weakening vertebral endsplates triggers Schmorl’s Nodes. These nodes could also be connected to other diseases, like:

  • Scheuermann’s diseaseis a condition that can cause the vertebrae to develop unevenly throughout the child years.
  • metabolic illnesses
  • degenerative spine degenerative spine
  • Cancer of the spine
  • spinal fractures or trauma to the spine
  • spine diseases

Scientists are researching this.

Schmorl’s nodes do not constitute an indication of tumor. They are usually associated with benign or non-cancerous conditions.

However, there are people who suffer from cancer and Schmorl’s nodes in the same person. In certain cases doctors can confuse one with the other.

For example,

Case report 2015

refers to a person who has thyroid carcinoma metastasis within the spine as thyroid cancer expands into the spine. Initially, doctors believed that they could determine that the spinal development was caused by a Schmorl’s tumor, as per the tests for medical imaging they carried out.

But, following an examination on the area of lesion they realized that the growth was actually a result of the thyroid cancer that had spread to other areas within the body.

The authors of the case study recommended that doctors closely follow-up with patients who have any previous history of metastatic cancer or are currently diagnosed with cancer even if studies of imaging suggest that they are not cancerous.

Doctors can identify Schmorl’s nodes by using diagnostic imaging techniques like MRIs.

In an MRI scan Schmorl’s Nodes show up as bony, small abnormalities of the vertebral endsplates. If imaging methods reveal features that resemble Schmorl’s Nodes, doctors might also conduct tests to identify their origins. Medical professionals will suggest these tests if there are additional indications or symptoms of an spine problem.

Because the majority of Schmorl’s Nodes don’t cause any symptoms the majority of people do not require treatment.

If a person suffers from pain in the Schmorl’s nodes their physician may recommend relaxation as well as pain relief medications. They can include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and Acetaminophen.

The symptoms should improve within a few days.

2-6 months

However, it could be up to 12 months before swelling to show up during an MRI to slowly diminish.

If this approach to treatment does not provide relief from the symptoms, doctors might look into surgery to eliminate the disc that is damaged. One option for surgery is lumbar interbody, which requires fixing the disc that has been damaged using bone graft. Surgeons attempt to restore the height of the vertebrae , and encourage the fusion between the two bones.

Schmorl’s Nodes are formed when the soft discs that connect those vertebrae that make up the spine expand or herniate through spaces in the vertebra bones that form the spine. Instead of bulging in the opposite direction and upwards, the herniated portions of the discs protrude either upwards or downwards, which affects the vertebrae that are adjacent to them.

Lesions are widespread that could affect as much as 76 percent in the general population. They usually do not cause symptoms and aren’t considered to be a cause of concern.

However, if a person is experiencing pain or mobility or suffers from any other condition or signs that suggest that there is a problem with their spine it is recommended to speak with a physician.