Measurement of in Vivo Lumbar Intervertebral Disc Pressure during Spinal Manipulation: A Feasibility Study

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research
  • 2 VA Connecticut Healthcare System
  • 3 California Spine Diagnostics
  • 4 Palo Alto, CA
  • 5 University of California, San Francisco
  • 6 St. Mary's Spine Center, San Francisco
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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

VA Connecticut Healthcare System

California Spine Diagnostics

Palo Alto, CA

University of California San Francisco

St. Mary's Spine Center.