Spinal disc degeneration, experienced by many using home care, has been investigated by researchers.
While normal "loading" facilitates the healthy movement of nutrients and solutes, "overloading" can be problematic, note the authors of the study, published in journal PLoS Computational Biology.
Scientists explored the impact of loading on two vital cell solutes related to disc metabolism - oxygen and lactate.
The effect of loading was seen to be greater when compressing a healthy disc as opposed to a degenerated one.
It also encouraged fluctuations of the concentration of the solutes.
Damien Lacroix, head of the Biomechanics and Mechanobiology group which carried out the research, said: "It's safe to say that an alteration of cell number caused by this disturbance to the metabolic transport could result in the possible onset of disc degeneration."
This follows research published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery which found that artificial disc replacement could be a viable alternative to spinal fusion surgery in some cases of spinal injury.
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Posted by Paul Breen