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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2013 Mar;57(3):271-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.2012.02670.x. Epub 2012 Mar 7.

New hypothesis of chronic back pain: low pH promotes nerve ingrowth into damaged intervertebral disks.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 2nd Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.


The pathogenesis of low back pain is still elusive. Here, we proposed a new hypothesis that low pH is a possible cause of the development and progression of low back pain. We propose that low pH promotes the production of the inflammatory mediators and the depletion of proteoglycan in the damaged intervertebral disk. The inflammation response, evoked by the dorsal root ganglia, changes the delicate nutrient balance in the nucleus, resulting in a vicious cycle and leading to choronic back pain. Our hypothesis may explain many of the available clinical and experimental data on low back pain, thus it may help elucidate the pathogenesis of low back pain and improve clinical management.

© 2012 The Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica Foundation.

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