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Disc Pressure Measurements

NACHEMSON, ALF L. MD
Original Article: PDF Only

By measurements of intradiscal pressure in vitro, the hydrostatic properties of the nucleus pulposus of normal lumbar intervertebral disc were proven. The hydrodynamic properties seem to exist also in the somewhat degenerated disc, but not in the more severely deranged ones. Intravitally-performed measurements of disc pressure over the last 20 years in more than 100 individuals have demonstrated how the load on the lumbar disc varies with the position of the subject's body and during the performance of various tasks, both in standing and in sitting. Compared with the pressure or load in the upright standing position, reclining reduces the pressure by 50–80%, while unsupported sitting increases the load by 40%, forward leaning and weight lifting by more than 100%, and the position of forward flexion and rotation by 400%. Large augmentations in pressure were also observed in subjects performing various commonly prescribed strengthening exercises.

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