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May 27, 1974

Mechanical Disorders of the Low Back

Author Affiliations

Department of Orthopaedics University of Iowa Hospitals Iowa City

JAMA. 1974;228(9):1167-1168. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230340065046

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Any rational attempt to establish an acceptable concept of the origin and management of low back pain represents a most welcome venture.

This monograph summarizes much of our knowledge of normal spine development, motion, and biomechanics. The essayist discusses degenerative disk disease from two perspectives— first, a description of disk degeneration, and subsequently a hypothesis to explain its origin. The remainder of the volume contains practical advice on management of the unfortunate victims of low back disease.

Initial well-illustrated chapters adequately describe spine development and normal anatomy. An excellent, readable summary of data on lumbar spine motion, torsion and compression stress, and stress analysis up to and including the point of disk failure, includes current data that graphically depict spine dynamics. For example, a go-go dancer can oscillate the lumbosacral spine at 480 cycles/ min. Data on spine hydraulics is derived mainly from diskograms.

A documentation of disk degenerative changes