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Intervertebral Disc – Stress Shielded by Facets – Dynamic Education

intervertebral disc, model, facets, stress shielded, dynamic, spine, patient education

The intervertebral disc annulus can be shielded by the facets. This is important for the patient to understand to help motivate exercise strategies to relieve their back pain.

Researchers have seen in studies that bending the spine backwards (extension) helps resist compression of the spine discs 1 especially when the disc has already lost some height. 2 3 When crafting exercises, and if the facets are not considered a pain generator, bending backwards, especially in the unloaded position, can be an effective strategy to help heal discogenic pain.

Several mechanisms have been proposed on why extension-based exercises aid in the reduction of back pain. One likely path is the direction the nucleus moves as the spine is bent backwards. It has been shown in several studies that the nucleus moves away from the posterior annulus in spinal extension 4 5 6 7 8 9

Dynamic Disc Designs Corp. is the only spine modeling company that demonstrates these findings in a dynamic spine education platform. The Professional and Academic LxH models allows clear visualization of the nucleus as the model moves through 6 degrees of freedom. Patient education that motivates and drives compliance through knowledge to improve clinic outcomes for spine.

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Cervical Disc Anatomy Model Helps Learn About Injuries

cervical model, anatomy

Cervical Disc Anatomy Model Helps One Learn About Neck Injuries

If you’ve ever been a student of anatomy, there’s a huge chance that you spent many a night staring blankly at the pages of your text book and the photographs and drawings inside. The human body is a complicated system as millions of mechanisms are occurring at once and to understand it – even if you’re really into the science surrounding it – can be quite difficult. There are so many bones, tissues, tendons, organs, nerves, etc. and each one has its place and its purpose.
Anatomy students – as well as students of particular medical disciplines – spend a lot of time studying artists’ rendering of the parts underneath our skin. We try to picture how they’d really look if we could see them or how they’d feel if we could touch them. If you have been a student of the spine – be it a chiropractor, a spine surgeon, or perhaps a physiotherapist – you’ve certainly spent a good amount of time with those drawings, trying to understand how the parts of the spine move and what happens when things go wrong.
But perhaps those who teach spinal anatomy, chiropractic, or any number of other anatomy-related courses, could use something that would enhance the teachings of it. Rather than offering high-quality drawings of the spine to students for study, they should be prepared to offer their students something much better – 3D dynamic models like the cervical disc anatomy model and others offered by Dynamic Disc Designs.

cervical, disc, anatomy, model
Good spinal health for patients starts with good educational tools for future doctors and other caretakers of the spine. A classroom equipped with a cervical disc anatomy model, or any of the more than two dozen models offered by Dr. Jerome Fryer of Dynamic Disc Designs (ddd), is a classroom where true hands-on and  takes place.
Designed and originally rafted by a highly-experienced chiropractor, these lumbar and cervical models take learning out of the text books and put it in the hands of students, where their fingers can manipulate the discs in a dynamic way. With these models, future spine surgeons, for example, understand what they need to do to make their patients better in a patient education platform they can trust. Up-and-coming chiropractors better understand the specifics of manipulation therapy and the value of an adjustment to the spine. And physiotherapists can picture how their stretches and exercises will help their clients achieve better spine health.
“Dynamic Disc Designs spinal segmental models are unique in many ways and represent a new standard in quality and anatomical detail far superior to any of their predecessors. Their value far exceeds their cost,” explains Ara Deukmedjian MD CEO of the Deuk Spine Institute.
“The ddd models have helped me as an instructor in a DPT program show a more realistic anatomical representation of the human spine,” adds physical therapy instructor Stephen Elam. “This helps the students have a more accurate image of the spine in their head and allows them to have a stronger anatomy foundation.”

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Dynamic Disc Design cervical disc anatomy models and other carefully-crafted spine models are available individually or as a package. Choose one or several to improve how you educate the spine care professionals of tomorrow.

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Cervical Spine Anatomical Model

A cervical spine model with a herniated disc - for medical professionals

A Cervical Spine Anatomical Model Sheds Light on a Complex System


The cervical spine – more commonly known as the neck – is a complex configuration of the seven vertebral bodies that make up the upper part of the spine. But you already knew that, right?

If you are a doctor or other professional who works with issues of the cervical spine, chances are you’ve studied this part of the anatomy in depth and that you know all about the particulars of C1 through C7 and understand the importance of a healthy cervical spine. Good for you!

Of course, if you’re a patient who’s having cervical spine problems, including severe neck pain, you’re probably not too adept at figuring out why it is that you’re hurting and what you can do to ease the pain. That’s why you’re going to a chiropractor, physiotherapy, massage therapist, or other professional. You hope that you’ll walk away with answers.

So, if you’re that medical professional to which people turn when they have cervical spine pain, what do YOU do to help them clearly understand what’s gone wrong inside their body? In many cases, we – as professionals – enjoy using our words to explain to our patients why they are in pain. We’ve all been there, most likely on both sides of the fence. You’ve no doubt done the explaining and have also been explained to…at least sometime during your life. But, being a medical professional, you’re at an advantage. You can largely understand what another doctor is explaining to you. Your patients may not fare as well.

zygapophyseal joints

But with visual aids, your verbal explanation can go a lot further. If cervical pain is your specialty, you should consider an investment in an education tool that tells the whole story through the sense of sight and touch, such as Dynamic Disc Design’s cervical spine anatomical models.

The company’s Professional CxH model, for example, provides patients (or students of cervical spine pathologies) a close look at the inner workings of this part of the body’s nervous system. It includes a two-part intervertebral disc with six degrees of natural motion with a red post-lateral nuclear migration upon manual compression, posterior longitudinal ligament (PLL), anterior longitudinal ligament (ALL) and periosteal fascia (POL) (adjacent to uncovertebral joint). Doctors find this model extremely helpful for discussions involving pain related to the uncovertebral joint, IVF narrowing, and dynamic disc changes related to the facets. A ligamentum flavum is available as an extra feature.

While the Professional CxH model is the most comprehensive 3D cervical spine anatomical model offered, Dynamic Disc Design’s also produces a cervical spinal stenosis model, an upper cervical model, a hypermobility cervical model, and a multi-level, multi-coloured cervical model. There’s also the one-of-a-kind Cervical Prox1.

Offering clients a look at a cervical spine anatomical model has a few distinct advantages. First of all, because many individuals learn best from visuals, they walk away with a clearer understanding of their problems. In addition, patients who truly believe they’ve “connected” with their doctor and believe that their doctor “understands them” are the ones that return. In short, you’ve helped them develop confidence in your knowledge and your abilities. That sort of connection makes for life-long patients.

Dynamic Disc Designs’ cervical spine anatomical models are affordable, even for those just starting their practice, and because they are well-made with careful attention to detail, they are not only super-accurate but also long-lasting, making them a sound investment for any doctor who treats the cervical spine. Check out the available selection and choose one or more that fit your needs.

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Bending or twisting – Which predisposes low back pain?

bending or twisting

Bending or twisting?

In a recent bending study in Clinical Biomechanics, researchers looked at how the nucleus pulposus deformed as the vertebrae rotated at two lumbar levels: L1-2 and L4-5. They were curious about how the nucleus pulposus behaved as this hydraulic tissue has an important role in resisting compression with bending and twisting of the spine.

Rotation is often described as a body position to predispose low back injury but there is not much research on the topic to demonstrate this is actually the case.

There has also been mounting evidence that flexion bending is thought to be a mechanism for disc injury and this Flexion load is thought to be more important.

Coupling movements of both flexion AND rotation has historically been thought to be the worst.

These researchers led by Fazey, P. used MRI to look at 10 asymptomatic subjects of an average age of 29 yrs.

What these researchers determined was that side-ways bending demonstrated greater nuclear deformation compared to rotation. They also showed that the nucleus moves backwards when one bends forwards and moves forwards when one bends backwards. Opposite.

One of the take home messages from this study is that lateral flexion (or side-ways movement) of the spine causes the nucleus structure to deform more than twisting. Therefore, patients should be instructed to minimize sideways bending to help reduce the deformation of the nucleus pulposus.

This study is one example of why Dynamic Disc Designs has worked to showcase the anatomy and inner workings of human discs. Our latest is the Centralizer. Degeneration is as a result of annular fissures and understanding how to minimize annular stress will likely lead to better outcomes for pain practitioners.

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Lumbar Disc Height – A Logical Approach

Disc Height - Patient Education

Disc degeneration is thought by many to be at the root of back and neck pain.

However, measuring degeneration has always been a challenge because of its elusive nature. One characteristic of degeneration that all agree on is disc height, or in other words, the spacing between vertebra. It is one of the most looked for finding on MRI, x-ray and CT when evaluating for a patient’s pain.

In a recent research paper by Andrew J. Teichtahl et al. in Arthritis Research & Therapy (2015) 17:297 DOI 10.1186/s13075-015-0820-1, these researchers found a dose-response relationship between the severity of disc degeneration and lumbar disc height.

The authors believe that their study provides the first evidence that lumbar disc height is a reliable and easily accessible measure in the determinant of lumbar disc degeneration.

Lumbosacral disc degeneration is very common with as many as one third of individuals showing disc degeneration in this region when investigated with MRI. Furthermore, with degeneration, it increases the risk by two-fold in the development of chronic low back pain. With these facts at hand, it is imperative to measure disc degeneration but this is not as easy as thought because of the varying definitions. Disc degeneration can be a complex condition with characteristics of cell proliferation, nucleus pulposus dehydration, annular fissures and clefts, endplate disruption and granulation changes.

Radiographic evidence of disc degeneration can also demonstrate endplate sclerosis, osteophytosis and joint space narrowing (aka, disc height). The most recognized technique to evaluate the degree of disc degeneration is the Pfirrmann’s method which is endorsed as a valid and reliable method of assessing intervertebral disc degeneration using MRI.

These researchers looked at MRIs from 72 community based individuals and found that disc height was the best quantitative measure as an outcome measure in epidemiological studies.

Dynamic Disc Models enables spine doctors to share important clinical findings ,like disc height, to patients in a dynamic and interactive way, demonstrating facet shingling, intradiscal findings and disc herniation on a dynamic platform to improve education of pain generators. An educated patient often is more compliant as they understand more clearly the movements and activities that can exacerbate their symptoms like excessive spinal flexion and incorrect lifting.

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Spondylolisthesis Models

Spondylolysis Spondylolisthesis - Dynamic Disc Designs

Spondylolisthesis is simply the slippage of one vertebra on another.

The medical Latin root comes from the Greek root spondylos” and “listhesis” which means vertebra slippage. They are defined by either a slippage forward, backward or sideways. These are labeled as an anterior, posterior or lateral listhesis, respectively. There are several degrees of slippage defined by grades (1-5).

There are several reasons as to why vertebrae slip out of alignment with the leading reason being arthritis and disc height loss in adults. Recently, in the Journal Medicine, researchers looked at the importance of dynamic loading in detecting degenerative spondylolisthesis. In children, it is the lowest of the lumbar vertebrae most commonly affected. Sudden bending backward activities can cause significant stress on the spinal structures related to spondylolisthesis.

To read more about spondylolisthesis, you can click here.

Products and Patient Education

Spondylolysis Spondylolisthesis

Below is a video to show the second most common spondylolisthesis, called a lytic listhesis. Lytic comes from the word, loosening. You can see the bone has actually fractured. This is sometimes found in active children.

Degenerative Spondylolisthesis

In order to see the most common spondylolisthesis models, you can see the video below of a degenerative spondylolisthesis model.

Multilevel L5 Spondylolysis Spondylolisthesis

In order to see a spondylolytic multilevel spondylolisthesis model you can watch the video below

Double Spondy Model

Our most recent and multilevel spondylolisthesis is shows both a lytic and non-lytic pars in the Double Spondy Model.

Professional LxH Disc Model

Another popular model is The Professional LxH  Model with the optional feature of a spondylolisthesis.

Spondy Option

Interestingly, spondylolisthesis sometimes doesn’t show up with regular recumbent x-ray, CT or MRI. There is growing knowledge that some spines are required to be loaded in order to see the slippage effectively. Often symptoms come with load. Dynamic Disc Models can help relay that message to patients. If a spondylolisthesis option is ordered with the Professional LxH Lumbar Model, ‘unroofing‘ will be able to be demonstrated.

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Patient Education for Spine

Patient Education Spine Model

Patient education for spine can come in many forms. Whether a doctor, physiotherapist, osteopath or a chiropractor does the talking and interacting with the patient, models or props are often the best strategy to relay information about their problem.

Other resources include youtube videos, posters, and charts. Other patient education materials can come by way of pamphlets and education seminars.

discogenic pain

Seasoned practitioners understand that each patient can be a little different and often is judged on a case-by-case basis. They use their experience to detect which patients and when to engage in patients education. Often, the doctor will encounter situations when time is of the essence in clinic that requires a certain pace to keep on schedule. Some doctors are good at being on time and others not so much. It is the goal for all spine practitioners to remain on time but this is difficult when the time for patient education is required.

At Dynamic Disc Designs we understand that both a patient’s time and a doctor’s time is valuable. We also understand that at the crux of this doctor-patient relationship is communication. Because patients often have more questions than time with their doctors, and because most of these questions are centered around pain generators and therapy, we believe having the most accurate spine model available for the doctor can help both parties.

A dynamic spine model to show :

  • Dynamic disc bulge
  • Disc herniation
  • Facet inflammation
  • Disc height loss
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Nerve pinching
  • Stenosis
  • Medial branch innervation
  • Discogenic problems
  • Annular fissures

All with a dynamic disc helps the patient understand which postures that are aggravating and also which postures that can help.

Using this kind of a model can quickly assist in doctor-patient communication–an essential part of any spine practice.