Stiffness properties of the trunk in people with low back pain

Marco Freddolini, Siobhan Strike, Raymond Y. W. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to examine the dynamic properties of the trunk during unstable sitting and to determine differences between healthy and low back pain (LBP) participants.Participants sat on a custom-made chair that was able to swing freely in the sagittal plane. The chair was mounted on a force platform to measure loads acting at the trunk. Each participant was asked to find a balanced position after the chair was tilted backward and released. Movements of the trunk and chair were recorded. Effective moment of inertia, stiffness and damping coefficients were derived using a second order linear model. 10 participants were re-tested to assess reliability. Trunk stiffness was found increased for LBP subjects (p < .05) while no difference was found for damping coefficient. Gender and initial tilt angle did not affect viscoelastic properties of the spine. A second order linear model adequately described the biomechanical response of the trunk. It was shown that the trunk response was mainly elastic for all participants. The increase in trunk stiffness in LBP subjects could be a compensatory strategy to decrease pain and the risk of further injuries, but further investigations are needed to understand the nature of the viscoelastic alterations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-79
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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