Understanding of the mechanics of disc tissue calls for measurement of strains in physiological conditions. Because the intervertebral disc is gripped between two vertebrae, the swelling is constrained in vivo, resulting in a intradiscal pressure of 0.1–0.2 MPa in supine position. The excision of isolated disc tissue samples results often in non-physiological swelling. The purpose of the present study is to measure 3D finite strains in isolated bovine disc tissue specimens under physiological osmolarity and pressure, particularly around discontinuities of the collagen network. The collagen is stained by means of CNA35 probe, and the (dead) cells are stained by means of propidium iodide. The tissue is observed under confocal microscopy, under an externally applied pressure generated by a PEG solution. The 3D finite strains are obtained through correlation of the texture of the 3D images. The correlation technique yields principal strains in all areas except within collagen-free areas. The deformation is strongly non-affine. Especially around discontinuities, the strain field is non-homogeneous. Macroscopic strains as computed from finite element analysis of whole discs are insufficient to predict microstrains around clefts or cells. Because of the small number of specimens, the present results should be considered preliminary.