With the physical stresses astronauts experience they are five times more at risk than the average individual to suffer from disc herniation.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) addressed the heightened risk of musculoskeletal injuries threatening astronauts, and discussed its concerns during a Spinal Deconditioning Injury Risk Summit. Among experts invited to the Summit was University of South Florida’s John Mayer, D.C., Ph.D.
“Deconditioning – the breakdown of the spine’s musculoskeletal support system – is a very common and serious condition occurring in astronauts,” says Dr. Mayer.
During the Summit, a multidisciplinary panel of experts addressed various issues including identifying impacting factors – such as microgravity exposure, flight weight and landing forces – and defining potential protection and prevention options. Going forward, NASA expects to develop and test new measures to counteract spinal deterioration in space crews, based on the panel’s recommendations. “Possible options to enhance safety measures for astronauts can include everything from developing new equipment to altering spaceflight exercise procedures to new healthcare practices,” says Dr. Mayer.
Dr. Mayer continues, “using effective specialized musculoskeletal care, such as Chiropractic, will effectively reduce the incidence of injuries for individuals exposed to a variety of physical demands.”