Traction effective in promoting repair to degraded disc-Spine 2014

Posted by:  Kevin G. Parker, D.C.

Pub Med:  Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2014 Feb 12. [Epub ahead of print]

Spinal Traction Promotes Molecular Transportation in a Simulated Degenerative Intervertebral Disc Model.
Kuo YW, Hsu YC, Chuang IT, Grace Chao PH, Wang JL.

Conclusion:   Traction treatment is effective in enhancing nutrition supply and promoting disc cell proliferation of the degraded discs.


Study Design. Biomechanical experiment using an in-situ porcine model.

Objective. To find the effect of traction treatment on anulus microstructure, molecular convection and cell viability of degraded discs.

Summary of Background Data. Spinal traction is a conservative treatment for disc disorders. The recognized biomechanical benefits include disc height recovery, foramen enlargement, and intradiscal pressure reduction. However, the influence of traction treatment on anulus microstructure, molecular transportation and cell viability of degraded discs has not been fully investigated.

Methods. A total of 48 thoracic discs were dissected from 8 porcine spines (140 kg, 6 month old) within 4 hrs after sacrifice and then divided into 3 groups: intact, degraded without traction, and degraded with traction.

Each disc was incubated in a whole-organ culture system and subjected to diurnal loadings for 7 days. Except for the intact group, discs were degraded with 0.5 ml trypsin on Day 1 and a 5 hr fatigue loadings on Day 2.

From Day 4 to Day 6, half of the degraded discs received a 30 min traction treatment per day (traction force: 20 kg, loading: unloading = 30 sec: 10 sec).

By the end of the incubation, the discs were inspected for disc height loss, anulus microstructure, molecular (fluorescein sodium) intensity and cell viability.

Results. Collagen fibers were crimped and delaminated, while the pores were occluded in the anulus fibrosus of the degraded discs.

Molecular transportation and cell viability of the discs decreased after matrix degradation.

With traction treatment, straightened collagen fibers increased within the degraded anulus fibrosus, and the anulus pores were less occluded.

Both molecular transportation and cell viability increased, but not to the intact level.

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This 2 min video is on spinal decompression, but it gives you a good idea of what is happening as the spine decompresses:  – DRX9000 Spinal Decompression Therapy:: Degenerative Disc Disease

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