As the body ages, healthy intervertebral discs that help provide cushioning between the vertebral bones of the spine begin to degenerate. This causes pain and changes in the spine. The thinning and degeneration of the discs can take away the natural curvature of the spine and its flexibility and can cause the bones to start rubbing against one another, causing damage to vertebrae. This piece shows a more abstract and less anatomically correct view of spines, and how the bones interact with healthy and then degenerated discs. The discs (blue) are depicted as larger cushions on the left, and as you look more to the right, the discs begin to grow thinner and the bones begin to show damage and show the spine stiffening and becoming less flexible.


  1. Mari Bell wrote her Steam project paper on the Objective “Know the state of bone development and repair”. With the added twist of her paper’s topic being on what is essentially the inverse of this, the stages of the bones degradation. She speaks about how the bones develop later on in life in ways that are actively detrimental to the body due to the bodies inability to properly repair the bones cushioning structures, specifically in regards to the spine, which results in a condition known as Degenerative disc disease. She speaks about how the body ages and loses the ability to repair the cushions that protect about spinal vertebrae, and of how the degradation of the cushions that sit in between them gradually causes pain and discomfort when bending the spine in ways that normally wouldn’t cause such discomfort due to the vertebra scraping together. She states that as the degradation of vertebral discs continues to degrade, the functionality of the spine decreases as well. She also explains that there are four stages of Degenerative disc disease, the first three causing varying levels of discomfort and pain, while the fourth stage is when the vertebrae themselves actively weather and crack from the weight of supporting the body.
    Her art piece for this is a more abstract work, with simple shapes stacked on top of eachother, a boxy yellowish white structure on top of a blue round structure, this pattern repeats from the bottom of the page to the top, conveying the structure of a healthy spine, but as you move from left to right on the page, the blue rounded structures gradually get thinner and thinner while the boxy yellow structure gets more brown and looks withered representing the progression of the degenerative disc disease.

    Grady Skillings

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