A group of Australian doctors and researchers recently penned an article for BioMed Research International, a peer-reviewed journal, entitled: A Review of Animal Models of Intervertebral Disc Degeneration: Pathophysiology, Regeneration, and Translation to the Clinic. The authors looked at the huge incidence of lower back pain present across the globe and, as the title indicates, launched a review of the animal models available to further the understanding of disc degeneration among those who regularly treat this disorder.
“Lower back pain causes more global disability than any other condition worldwide and is an enormous financial burden due to costs related to loss in working hours as well as for its medical treatment,” notes the review, citing statistics from the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study.
“Up to 80% of people may experience lower back pain at some stage in their life, with prevalence ranging from 15 to 45%. Chronic lower back pain can be caused by degenerative lumbar disc disease, which produces discogenic pain,” the figures note.
“The intervertebral disc is a complex multicomponent structural tissue consisting of an outer fibrous ring, the annulus fibrosus (AF), and an inner hydrated gel-like substance, the nucleus pulposus,” the authors point out. “It is the largest avascular structure in the body.”
Hence, those who penned the review infer that in order to understand this complex structure, one requires a highly-detailed model of the spine. The review then proceeds to outline the various animal models used as in vivo models of intervertebral disc degeneration, including bipedal and quadrupedal options. They note that many of the models have been used by authors for the investigation of disc degeneration and for the development of potential treatments for the disease.
That said, however, there is only one model on the market that includes the details described in the italicized paragraph above, including a flexible and totally dynamic herniating (or prolapse) nucleus pulposus. These are the models manufactured by Dynamic Disc Designs (ddd) of Canada. In these fully-dynamic models, users will view and touch something akin to a real spine and also find a detailed cauda equina which includes sensory and motor divisions, dorsal root ganglion, recurrent meningeal, gray rami communicantes, posterior primary division, dura mater, arachnoid sheath, rootlets, and a properly placed nerve root to accurately demonstrate the most commonly affected nerve with a post-lateral herniated disc.
Designed by Dr. Jerome Fryer, a chiropractor who struggled with the use of old static models, the ddd models have become the standard in spine modeling, and the company’s Professional LxH model is the most popular for patient education but also suitable for educating students who will soon be treating patients with disc-related problems.
“This model with the bulging nucleus is exactly what we see in real discs – it’s brilliant. It is a perfect teaching tool to illustrate the difference between flexion motion and flexion moment/torque and the disc bulge as an injury mechanism,” wrote Stuart M. McGill, Ph.D., Professor of Spine Biomechanics and part of the faculty of the Applied Health Sciences Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. McGill has been using the Professional LxH model for several years to teach the details of the inner workings of the spine as have many others in similar positions.
To see what McGIll and others are boasting about, browse the Dynamic Disc Designs website for more information on the most complete and accurate spine models on the market and make an investment in your business, the education of your patients, and the education of those who will follow in your footsteps.