What the Schmörl?!?!
Schmörl's nodes are herniations of intervertebral disk material through areas of weakness in the endplate of the bone or vertebrae. The endplate defect may occur during development or from traumatic lesions caused by compressive vertebral loads. The weakened endplate of the vertebra has less resistance to the expansive pressure of the adjacent nucleus pulposus (remember the egg yolk analogy from prior posts?) during the herniation and causes a defect in the vertebra itself.
According to Grievé, Rovira, Capellades, Rivas, and Pedraza(1999), traumatic lesions are common in many individuals. Often, the Schmorl node can be considered a fracture of the vertebra and that is best diagnosed in cooperation between the clinician and the radiologist. The shmorl node is a fairly common finding upon radiological evaluation, and MRI would be required to determine if it is traumatic.
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Grievé, E., Rovira, A., Capellades, J., Rivas, A., & Pedraza, S. (1999). Radiologic findings in two cases of acute Schmörl's nodes. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 20(9), 1717-1721.