Effect of lordosis on the position of the nucleus pulposus in supine subjects: A study using magnetic resonance imaging

Beattie, Paul F., Brooks, William M., Rothstein, Jules M., Sibbitt, Wilmer L. Jr, Robergs, Robert A., Maclean, Thomas, & Hart, Blaine L. (1994) Effect of lordosis on the position of the nucleus pulposus in supine subjects: A study using magnetic resonance imaging. Spine, 19(18), pp. 2096-2102.

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Study Design

  • Healthy young women (N = 20) underwent magnetic resonance imaging while supine with their hips and knees flexed (flexed position) and supine with a lumbar roll under the low back (extended position). The posterior end anterior margins of the nucleus pulposus (MP) relative to posterior and anterior margins of the adjacent vertebral bodies were calculated from mid-sagittal T 2-weighted images to determine the position change of the NP as a function of two supine postures.


  • This study describes the effect of two commonly used supine postures on the position of the NP.

Summary of Background Data

  • Management of patients with low back pain is often based on theorized positional changes of the NP during spinal extension and flexion, Date describing NP positional changes have not been reported for noninvesive measurements.


  • The distance of the posterior margin of the NP to the posterior margins of the adjacent vertebral bodies was greater in the extended compared with the flexed position. There was no difference in the anterior distance. Eight of the 20 subjects had at least one degenerative disc in the lower lumbar spine. The NFs of the degenerative discs did not move the same as normal discs.


  • The use of a lumbar roll under the low back when supine causes an increase in the distance from the posterior margin of the NP to the posterior portions of the vertebral bodies in normal discs of healthy young females. Degenerative discs deform differently from non degenerative discs.

Impact and interest:

57 citations in Scopus
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44 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 96690
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: adult; article; controlled study; diagnostic imaging; female; human; human experiment; intervertebral disk; lordosis; normal human; nuclear magnetic resonance imaging; nucleus pulposus; priority journal; supine position, Adult; Female; Hip Joint; Human; Intervertebral Disk; Intervertebral Disk Displacement; Knee Joint; Lumbar Vertebrae; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Supine Position; Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
ISSN: 0362-2436
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Deposited On: 07 Jul 2016 23:42
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2016 23:42

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