Disc Degeneration clinical trials at UCSD
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Low back pain (LBP) is a complex condition that affects 65-85% of the population, and is the leading musculoskeletal condition contributing to disability in the United States. Disc herniation is the most common injury and 75% of individuals undergoing surgical and rehabilitative interventions for this condition experience suboptimal or poor outcomes. These patients demonstrate disability and deficits in functional capacity, including strength and endurance of the lumbar musculature. Muscle-specific changes in individuals with LBP include altered muscle volume, fatty infiltration and fibrosis, and fiber area and type. Importantly, these changes are insensitive to rehabilitation in patients with continued chronic or recurrent symptoms. While normal disuse-related atrophy in the presence of LBP is expected, more severe or chronic pathology, such as inflammation and fiber damage, may be inducing irreversible fiber degeneration and fatty/fibrotic tissue changes that impair muscle function and recovery. While the structural and adaptive capacities of healthy muscle are well understood, muscle recovery in the presence of pathology is less clear. To address this gap in knowledge, the purpose of this project is to compare structural, physiological, and adaptive responses of muscle in the presence of acute and chronic lumbar spine pathology. The central hypothesis is that chronic injury results in a state of muscle inflammation, atrophy, fibrosis, and muscle degeneration that is not responsive to exercise. The Investigators will identify which patients respond to exercise by examining muscle hypertrophic, fibrotic, inflammatory, and adipogenic gene expression profiles. Patients will be followed for six months post-operatively to measure muscle recovery and strength.
La Jolla, California