Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Recent work showed an increased risk of cervical and lumbar intervertebral disc (IVD) herniations in astronauts. The European Space Agency asked the authors to advise on the underlying pathophysiology of this increased risk, to identify predisposing factors and possible interventions and to suggest research priorities.The authors performed a narrative literature review of the possible mechanisms, and conducted a survey within the team to prioritize research and prevention approaches.Based on literature review the most likely cause for lumbar IVD herniations was concluded to be swelling of the IVD in the unloaded condition during spaceflight. For the cervical IVDs, the knowledge base is too limited to postulate a likely mechanism or recommend approaches for prevention. Basic research on the impact of (un)loading on the cervical IVD and translational research is needed. The highest priority prevention approach for the lumbar spine was post-flight care avoiding activities involving spinal flexion, followed by passive spinal loading in spaceflight and exercises to reduce IVD hyper-hydration post-flight.

Type

Journal article

Journal

European spine journal : official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society

Publication Date

01/2016

Volume

25

Pages

144 - 154

Addresses

Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, VIC, 3125, Australia. belavy@gmail.com.

Keywords

Cervical Vertebrae, Lumbar Vertebrae, Humans, Risk Factors, Space Flight, Astronauts, Intervertebral Disc Displacement