September 18, 2012

Picture of people running along side a riverDO YOU LIKE TO JOG OR RUN? Southern New Hampshire has oodles of regions to exercise like this. Well, recognize that the spinal discs in your lower back lose fluid and decrease by greater than 6% when you run. To add fuel to the fire, this is in young adults, not older folks with disc degeneration and advanced aging changes in their spines. Just consider the loss of disc height in them! We chiropractors do, and your Southern New Hampshire chiropractor worries about your spinal discs. And New Hampshire Spine and Sport work with Southern New Hampshire joggers and runners like you to reduce potential damage.

So here is the research behind the worry: Magnetic resonance imaging was used to check the influence of moderate-intensity treadmill running on the disc height and volume in the mid- and low-backs of 8 healthy young people with no back pain. They ran for 30 minutes on the treadmill. An MRI study of their spines was performed before and after the run. After moderate intensity running, a 6.3% reduction in disc height and 6.9% reduction in disc volume were found. This looks at the normal day-to-day difference in disc height and volume of 0.6 and 0.4%, appropriately. (1)

At New Hampshire Spine and Sport, the chiropractor can direct you to suitable spinal manipulation, exercises and nutritional alterations in your diet to help curb this detrimental spine change. Remember, although moderate intensity running is generally advocated for apparently healthy adults, running causes a loss in stature that is thought to reflect compression of the intervertebral disc that causes loss of disc height.

Picture of spinal disc cross sectionKnow that your Southern New Hampshire chiropractor knows that repetitious loading of the low back, such as what happens in running, damages the segement of the disc referred to as the annulus fibrosus which holds in the nucleus pulposus. Such disc failure is unlikely to happen with repetitive bending in the absence of compressive load. Compressive cyclic loading with low peak load magnitude also did not create the failure of the disc. (2) However, we see that the compressive loading of the disc as occurs with running does cause the disc to lose height and volume.

Contact your Southern New Hampshire chiropractor at New Hampshire Spine and Sport for guidance on how to exercise as safely as attainable with minimum damage to the spine. Your future spinal health counts on it!