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Exercise increases disc height

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Intense exercise, gravity … that probably compresses spines, amiright? Squishes those intervertebral discs out? Wear and tear?

Nyope, the opposite. A good workout fluffs them up! “Juicier.” Increased disc height with vigorous activity.

Bowden et al: “Physical activity, particularly vigorous activity, is beneficial in helping maintain intervertebral disc health.”

Is there anything about spine health that’s actually intuitive? I think not. Counter-intuitive is the rule. If your pet theory about what causes or cures back pain “makes sense,” it’s probably wrong!


“In vivo correlates between daily physical activity and intervertebral disc health”
Bowden et al. Journal of Orthopaedic Research. Volume 36, Number 5, 1313–1323. May 2018.