How does the location of a disc herniation along the circumference of the annulus of the disc determine the pattern of nerve root compression

Discs herniations are described by their relationship along the circumference of the annulus fibrosus as central (midline), posterolateral (most common), foraminal, or extraforaminal. The location of the disc herniation determines the pattern of nerve root compression. The nerve roots of the lumbar spine exit the spinal canal beneath the pedicle of the corresponding numbered vertebra and above the caudad intervertebral disc. A posterolateral L4-L5 disc herniation compresses the L5 nerve root (the traversing nerve root of the L4-L5 motion segment). An L4-L5 foraminal or extraforaminal disc herniation compresses the L4 nerve root (the exiting nerve root of the L4-L5 motion segment). A central disc herniation compresses one or more of the caudal nerve roots.

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