This paper presents the first reported measurements of lumbar intervertebral disc pressure in vivo during spinal manipulation. A pressure transducer was inserted into the nucleus pulposus of one normal-appearing lumbar disc in an asymptomatic adult volunteer. Pressures were recorded during several body positions and maneuvers, then during spinal manipulation, and lastly during a repetition of the preintervention body positions. Baseline pressures in the prone and side-lying positions measured 110 kPa and 150 kPa, respectively. During the manipulation, pressure rose to a peak of 890 kPa over 250 ms. Immediately following, pressures in the prone and side-lying positions measured 150 kPa and 165 kPa, respectively. These data do not support the hypotheses that manipulation can reduce a herniation by decreasing intradiscal pressure, or cause a herniation by raising pressure to failure levels. Further work may lead to a better understanding of this treatment method.
Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, Davenport, IA