Between each vertebra in your spine is a disc. This disc has a soft, shock absorbent centre and a stronger, stiffer outer binding. Under healthy conditions, disc cells receive a free flowing supply of nutrients and oxygen that are necessary to maintain their resiliency and metabolic functions. However, unlike most other cells of the body, they don’t receive these directly from blood vessels. Instead, disc cells receive their supply of nutrients by diffusion of water (Mooney, 2000).

The importance of hydrating your discs.

The disc functions much like a sponge that soaks up water and expands (swells). Nutrition for each disc cell can only be achieved by the disc swelling up with water loaded with nutrients from the bloodstream. When this liquid is squeezed out, it carries with it waste products from cell metabolism and other breakdown products.

This expansion and compression (swelling and squeezing) achieved through movement and exercise allows the pumping action necessary to generate new cells and keep discs resilient and healthy.

But, when the compression aspect of the hydration cycle is not balanced by the expansion aspect – too much sitting and inactivity and not enough appropriate exercise – a weak spot may develop in the outer ring of the disc. And it’s this weak spot that has the potential to manifest into something that causes pain, i.e. a bulging disc pressing on a nerve.

While a degenerating disc is a mechanical process, there’s an accompanying chemical process that exacerbates pain. Injury changes the chemical nature of the fluid within the disc from its comforting alkaline status to more irritating acid. This chemical change compounds the sensitivity of the nerves, greatly increasing the sensation of pain. This acidic disc environment can only be removed by a significant amount of fluid exchange. The quicker disc fluid is cycled, the sooner the pain will moderate – and that requires increasing the pumping action well beyond what daily activity might normally provide.

So what’s the solution?

The pumping action that supplies food to disc cells can only happen through specific exercise alone. The MedX Medical Lumbar Extensor machine allows for safe vertebrae compression and expansion, in effect loading and unloading the spine through a pain-free range of motion. A tailored, spine-specific training regime not only heals a troubled back, but it also protects it from further injury (Mooney, 2000).

The great news is that, as a BodyTech member, you have access to The ExerScience Clinic’s MedX Medical Lumbar Extensor machine. The effectiveness of this for treating issues stemming from the lumbar spine region, especially chronic pain, has been endorsed by research from orthopaedic specialists, multiple universities around the world and in excess of 70 published articles in peer reviewed journals. And that’s the truth.

So call The ExerScience Clinic now on 0-9-393 8500 or drop in when you next visit BodyTech.

Train smart
Peter Rana, Founder

Mooney, V. (2000). How to have a healthy back. Retrieved from