Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Published in Proceedings of the NASS 27th Annual Meeting / The Spine Journal 12 (2012) 99S–165S.


Copyright © 2012 Elsevier. Used by permission.


BACKGROUND CONTEXT: It is estimated that up to 80% of the general population will experience at least one significant bout of low back pain in their lifetime. The leading known cause of low back pain is degenerative disc disease (DDD). Many established risk factors for low back pain and DDD are mechanical in nature and are often related to occupational activities, such as poor posture and frequent/heavy lifting. Altered mechanical loading in the spine has been shown to be a potential stimulus for disc degeneration. However, a link between occupational/environmental factors and intervertebral loading has never been demonstrated in vivo. We hypothesize that intervertebral loading is highly dependent on muscle activation and recruitment. These relationships are significant because they provide a potential connection between everyday activities and low back pain.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to use a novel force-sensing interbody implant to measure in vivo loads in the disc space of the goat cervical spine in real time and analyze their dependence on activity, posture, rate of motion, and whole body compensation.