Disc degeneration affects the multidirectional flexibility of the lumbar spine.

Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.
Spine (Impact Factor: 2.45). 07/1994; 19(12):1371-80. DOI: 10.1097/00007632-199406000-00011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT An in vitro biomechanical investigation using human lumbar cadaveric spine specimens was undertaken to determine any relationship between intervertebral disc degeneration and nonlinear multidirectional spinal flexibility.
Previous clinical and biomechanical studies have not established conclusively such a relationship.
Forty-seven discs from 12 whole lumbar spine specimens were studied under the application of flexion-extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending pure moments. Three flexibility parameters were defined (neutral zone (NZ), range of motion (ROM), and neutral zone ratio (NZR = NZ/ROM)) and correlated with the macroscopic and radiographic degeneration.
In flexion-extension, the ROM decreased and NZR increased with degeneration. In axial rotation, NZ and NZR increased with degeneration. In lateral bending, the ROM significantly decreased and the NZR increased with degeneration. In all three loading directions, the NZR increased, indicating greater joint laxity with degeneration.

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