Your Road to Wellness

Low Back and Neck Pain

Help protect your spinal discs from degeneration.

Posted by on 9:45 am Low Back and Neck Pain | 0 comments

Low back pain is very common, and everybody that has experienced it can confirm that in addition to being very unpleasant, it can also interfere with your daily activities.

That’s why this research is interesting because it looked at reasons for disc degeneration, and what possibly could be done to help prevent it.

These researchers found that inflammation and free radical formation caused damage to the cells in the nucleus of the intervertebral disc (Mavrogonatou E, et al. 2014).

They then used a cell culture where they added glucosamine sulfate to the cells of the disc.

The reason that they picked glucosamine sulfate was that in a previous study they found that glucosamine sulfate stimulated glycosaminoglycan synthesis in the disc (Mavrogonatou E, Kletsas D, 2013).

Glycosaminoglycan synthesis is what stimulates the growth of the disc tissue.

The last research they did, which was published in 2014, showed that the main inflammatory cytokine causing damage to the disc was TNF-alpha.

What they also found was that glucosamine sulfate was protective against TNF-alpha’s degenerative (destructive) effects on the disc.

The researchers stated that glucosamine sulfate for that reason could potentially be used to prevent disc degeneration.

Since we know that inflammation and free radical damage are two important reasons for disc degeneration, what else could be helpful?

Curcumin in a well-absorbed form which has shown to reduce inflammation, and S-Acetyl Glutathione a very effective antioxidant which has been shown to get into the cells where it is needed.

Mavrogonatou E1, Angelopoulou MT, Kletsas D. The catabolic effect of TNFα on bovine nucleus pulposus intervertebral disc cells and the restraining role of glucosamine sulfate in the TNFα-mediated up-regulation of MMP-3. J Orthop Res. 2014 Dec;32(12):1701-7. doi: 10.1002/jor.22725. Epub 2014 Sep 12.
Mavrogonatou E1, Kletsas D. The effect of glucosamine sulfate on the proliferative potential and glycosaminoglycan synthesis of nucleus pulposus intervertebral disc cells. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2013 Feb 15;38(4):308-14. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31826a0a8d.

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Do you have an increased risk for sciatica?

Posted by on 9:45 am Low Back and Neck Pain | 0 comments

Low back pain with pain down one leg can be very unpleasant and also interfere with your daily activities.

It’s logical to think that heavy lifting on a regular basis is the reason why we develop this kind of problem.

While excessive stress to the low back can cause problems, it may not be the only thing increasing your risk.

The findings of this research is interesting since most people don’t think of this as a possible reason why they may develop sciatica.

The study was done in Finland and included 8,028 men and women 30 years old or older (Leino-Arjas P, et al. 2008).

The results showed that men with cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the upper one third were significantly associated with sciatica when compared with men in the lowest one third level.

Women treated for high cholesterol also showed an association with sciatica. 

Why would high cholesterol and triglyceride levels be associated with sciatica?

High cholesterol and triglycerides lead to clogged up blood vessels which results in less blood supply to the low back.

Even if the inter-vertebral discs in the low back don’t have direct blood supply, the discs get their nutrient supply indirectly from the blood vessels by diffusion.

Less blood supply to the low back will therefore lead to less nutrient supply to the discs, and with time that will increase the risk for disc degeneration and the symptoms of sciatica.

By eating food that supports a healthy cardiovascular system and adapt a healthy lifestyle, you will not only reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, but also end up with a healthier back.

Leino-Arjas P1, Kauppila L, Kaila-Kangas L, Shiri R, Heistaro S, Heliövaara M. Serum lipids in relation to sciatica among Finns. Atherosclerosis. 2008 Mar;197(1):43-9. Epub 2007 Sep 7.

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What could be a common cause of both low back pain and cardiovascular disease?

Posted by on 6:00 pm HDL Level, Heart disease, Low Back and Neck Pain, Lumbar disc degeneration | 0 comments


There can be many reasons why we develop low back pain. One of the reasons is inter-vertebral disc degeneration.

So how can a degenerated disc in the low back have anything in common with cardiovascular disease?

Think about it this way, and it will start to make some sense.

All tissue in the body needs adequate blood supply to provide nutrition for tissue regeneration. If the blood supply is compromised the tissue will start to degenerate.

The disc does not have direct blood supply, but is dependent on diffusion from blood vessels at the disc’s margins(Urban JP, et al. 2004).

When the lumbar arteries and the middle sacral artery were evaluated it was found that people with one or more occluded/narrowed arteries were 8.5 times more likely to have suffered from chronic low back pain than were those without such findings(Kauppila LI,1997).

Stenosis of the lumbar/middle sacral arteries were found on average five years earlier than atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries.

Research has also documented a connection between cardiovascular risk factors and low back symptoms.

Disc degeneration was found to be associated with occluded lumbar/middle sacral arteries, and patients with above normal LDL cholesterol levels had more neurological symptoms (Kauppila LI, 2004).

Patients with a symptomatic herniated lumbar disc have shown significant higher triglyceride levels and higher total cholesterol levels than patients without disc herniation (Longo LG,et al. 2011).

Inadequate blood supply feeding the inter-vertebral discs results in earlier disc degeneration, and inadequate blood supply to the heart can result in a heart attack or heart failure.

Why do we get atherosclerosis (deposits in the arteries)?

 I will explain more about that in the next article, and I will also tell you what you can do to help prevent it.

Urban JP1, Smith S, Fairbank JC. Nutrition of the intervertebral disc. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2004 Dec 1;29(23):2700-9.
Kauppila LI1. Prevalence of stenotic changes in arteries supplying the lumbar spine. A postmortem angiographic study on 140 subjects. Ann Rheum Dis. 1997 Oct;56(10):591-5.
Kauppila LI1, Mikkonen R, Mankinen P, Pelto-Vasenius K, Mäenpää I. MR aortography and serum cholesterol levels in patients with long-term nonspecific lower back pain. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2004 Oct 1;29(19):2147-52.
Longo UG1, Denaro L, Spiezia F, Forriol F, Maffulli N, Denaro V. Symptomatic disc herniation and serum lipid levels .Eur Spine J. 2011 Oct;20(10):1658-62. doi: 10.1007/s00586-011-1737-2. Epub 2011 Mar 9.