Back At It


Well, not quite the start of the year we were all hoping for! With so many unknowns, unfortunately life looks like it will remain a challenge for the foreseeable future. If you are having difficulties coping, please seek assistance from a health professional or call Lifeline 131114.

One thing that has not stopped entirely during the pandemic is spine research. Over the past 12 months Cameron and Leigh have been involved in some very important clinical research called the BACE study. The BACE study is gathering data both here and overseas relating to people over the age of 55 suffering lower back pain. Unfortunately, recruitment of suitable study participants has been more difficult during these times. We thank those volunteers very much for their contributions so far.

In other recently published research spinal decompression/traction continues to be reviewed positively:

  • A new research review (systematic review and metanalysis) included 567 patients from 8 trials. When added to physical therapy, non-surgical spinal decompression/mechanical traction was found to reduce pain and disability when managing disc herniation and sciatica (radiculopathy).(1)
  • Another high-quality study analysed lumbar (lower back) disc changes under MRI. Participants were subjected to a compression force followed by a decompression/traction force. Apart from the expected changes in disc height, it was also observed that the hydration (fluid content) of the disc improved during decompression.(2)


Spinal decompression/traction was introduced as an important evidence based spinal treatment at our practice 4 years ago. Most of our spine treatments now routinely include decompression (Cox Technic or non-surgical automated decompression). For more information, please click here.



Taking glucosamine / chondroitin supplements is more and more reported positive. A new paper states that taking this combo reduced overall risk of early death about as effectively as regular exercise. (The authors don’t recommend not exercising though!)(3).

Another study of 77,510 supplement users found that people who took glucosamine (alone or with chondroitin) were found to have a significantly lower risk of death. Further, current users had a significantly lower risk of death from cancer.(4) Even more specifically, regular use of glucosamine was linked to a significantly lower risk of total cardiovascular disease issues and death, coronary heart disease and stroke.(5)

We have certainly recognized the beneficial use of glucosamine and chondroitin to care for degenerated discs related to back pain and neck pain. These other benefits just raise the bar for the benefit of taking glucosamine and chondroitin.



1. Vanti et al Effectiveness of Mechanical Traction for Lumbar Radiculopathy- A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Phys Ther. 2020

2. Abdollah et al The effects of axial loading on the morphometric and T2 characteristics of lumbar discs in relation to disc degeneration Clinical Biomechanics 83 (2021)

3. King DE, Xiang J. Glucosamine/Chondroitin and Mortality in a US NHANES Cohort. J Am Board Fam Med. 2020 Nov-Dec;33(6):842-847

4. Bell GA, Kantor ED, Lampe JW, Shen DD, White E. Use of glucosamine and chondroitin in relation to mortality. Eur J Epidemiol. 2012;27(8):593-603.

5. Ma H, Li X, Sun D, Zhou T, Ley SH, Gustat J, Heianza Y, Qi L. Association of habitual glucosamine use with risk of cardiovascular disease: prospective study inUK Biobank. BMJ. 2019 May 14