Disc pressure measurements

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1981 Jan-Feb;6(1):93-7. doi: 10.1097/00007632-198101000-00020.


By measurement 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 of 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 subject performing various commonly prescribed strengthening exercises.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc / physiology*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Posture
  • Pressure