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Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Feb 2024 - 9 Feb 2024

2024 Jan 24

J Biomech


Effect of low back pain on the kinetics and kinematics of the lumbar spine – a combined in vivo and in silico investigation.


Firouzabadi A, Arjmand N, Zhang T, Pumberger M, Schmidt H


Lifting is a significant risk factor for low back pain (LBP). Different biomechanical factors including spinal loads, kinematics, and muscle electromyography (EMG) activities have previously been investigated during lifting activities in LBP patients and asymptomatic individuals to identify their association with LBP. However, the findings were contradictory and inconclusive. Accurate and subject-specific prediction of spinal loads is crucial for understanding, diagnosing, planning tailored treatments, and preventing recurrent pain in LBP patients. Therefore, the present study aimed to estimate the L5-S1 compressive and resultant shear loads in 19 healthy and 17 non-specific chronic LBP individuals during various static load-holding tasks (holding a 10 kg box at hip, chest, and head height) using full-body and personalized musculoskeletal models driven by subject-specific in vivo kinematic/kinetic, EMG, and physiological cross-sectional areas (PCSAs) data. These biomechanical characteristics were concurrently analyzed to identify potential differences between the two groups. Statistical analyses showed that LBP had almost no significant effect on the range of motion (trunk, lumbar, pelvis), PCSA, and EMG. There were no significant differences (p > 0.05) in the predicted L5-S1 loads. However, as the task became more demanding, by elevating the hand-load from hip to head, LBP patients experienced significant increases in both compressive (33 %, p = 0.00) and shear (25 %, p = 0.02) loads, while asymptomatic individuals showed significant increases only in compressive loads (30 %, p = 0.01). This suggests that engaging in more challenging activities could potentially magnify the effect of LBP on the biomechanical factors and increase their discrimination capacity between LBP and asymptomatic individuals.