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The acute response of the nucleus pulposus of the cervical intervertebral disc to three supine postures in an asymptomatic population

Elmaazi, Areej and Morse, Chris and Lewis, Sandra and Qureshi, Salman and McEwan, Islay (2019) The acute response of the nucleus pulposus of the cervical intervertebral disc to three supine postures in an asymptomatic population. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice. ISSN 2468-7812

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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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Abstract

Background The dynamic disc model refers to the ability of a spinal disc's position to be manipulated by body postures and movements. Research on lumbar discs has indicated movement of the anterior and posterior disc that correlates with posture of the spine. The aim of this study was to assess whether, despite its structural differences, the cervical disc responds to flexed and extended postures in a similar fashion to the lumbar disc. Method A repeated measures study. Twenty five asymptomatic participants (age: 33.7 ± 9.1 years) volunteered. Scans were performed in supine using an Esaote 0.2T magnetic resonance imaging scanner. Participants lay with their cervical spine initially placed in neutral, followed by flexion and finally extension. The position of the posterior disc nucleus pulposus at C5-6 and C6-7 was measured against a vertical line connecting the posterior vertebral bodies above and below each disc. Results Changes in cervical spine position were associated with significant changes in posterior disc nucleus pulposus position at both C5-6 and C6-7 (p < 0.01 for both). Post hoc testing showed a significant difference in posterior disc nucleus pulposus position at C5-6 between flexion and extension (p = 0.02). There was similarly a significant change at C6-7 between neutral and flexion (p = 0.001), and between flexion and extension (p = 0.02). Conclusions These results indicate that the cervical posterior nucleus pulposus is affected by spinal loading, consistent with the concept of the dynamic disc model.

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