It has been thoroughly documented that low back pain is often associated with deregulated biological function and compromised mechanical behavior of the intervertebral disc. Therefore, intervertebral disc mechanics have long been thought of as important factors both in driving cell-mediated processes involved in degeneration and in distinguishing between healthy versus degenerate discs. The nucleus pulposus is an integral part of the mechanics of the disc, the key property being its ability to pressurize to resist and distribute compressive stress to the annulus fibrosus and the endplates. There has been a history of intradiscal pressure measurements in cadaveric as well as large animal studies; however, these studies have focused on the consequences of degeneration or the change in stress distribution by varying spinal orientations. In order to be able to relate local stresses induced in discs to changes in cellular function, such pressure measurements must be obtained from an animal model amenable to chronic disc loading. Rat tail discs have been one widely used laboratory model, but the discs are too small for measuring load-induced nucleus pressures using current sensor technology.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.