Some of the treatments for low back pain use traction as the loading mechanism to the spine. One such treatment protocol used by chiropractic physicians in the treatment of low back pain is the Cox flexion-distraction procedure (1). The Cox procedure consists of placing the patient in a prone position on a flexion-distraction table and then creating traction and flexion motions at the joint of interest. The treatment is based on the hypothesis that the intradiscal pressure decreases during the procedure and may provide an opportunity for the disc bulge to reduce. However, no data exist to support this hypothesis. The purpose of the present study was to measure the changes in the intradiscal pressures in the lumbar spine on unembalmed cadavers during the flexion-distraction procedure.

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