Effects of vertebral axial decompression on intradiscal pressure

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✓ The object of this study was to examine the effect of vertebral axial decompression on pressure in the nucleus pulposus of lumbar discs. Intradiscal pressure measurement was performed by connecting a cannula inserted into the patient's L4-5 disc space to a pressure transducer. The patient was placed in a prone position on a VAX-D therapeutic table and the tensionometer on the table was attached via a pelvic harness. Changes in intradiscal pressure were recorded at resting state and while controlled tension was applied by the equipment to the pelvic harness. Intradiscal pressure demonstrated an inverse relationship to the tension applied. Tension in the upper range was observed to decompress the nucleus pulposus significantly, to below −100 mm Hg.

Article Information

Address reprint requests to: Gustavo Ramos, M.D., Valley Neurosurgical Clinic, P.A., 222 East Ridge Road, Suite 210, McAllen, Texas 78503.

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Figures

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    Photograph illustrating the equipment and the position of the patient as the system is activated. The caudal end of the table extends, applying tension to the pelvic belt. Upper body movement is restrained by having the patient grasp the hand grips. A graph of the tension applied is plotted by a chart recorder on the control console and the intradiscal pressure readings are entered on the same graph at the apex of each distraction curve.

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    Graphs showing the intradiscal pressures recorded in the L4-5 nucleus pulposus of three patients (Case 3, upper; Case 4, center; and Case 5, lower) with a herniated disc at this level. Pressure is plotted against distraction tension consistent with the range of tension recommended as the therapeutic protocol for the equipment used in this study.

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