From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

New Look At the Spine

Researchers at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation in Edinburgh, South Australia have developed a mathematical model of the human spine that they say is challenging some of the assumptions regarding the causes of back pain.


Deemed the Full Spine Simulator (FSS), researchers Nick Beagley and Vladimir Ivancevic believe that their three-dimensional animated model of the spine is indicating that quick twists of the vertebrae are the true source of back pain.


According to an article in New Scientist, the researchers say current models of the spine, like crash test dummies, don’t account for body size, strength, nerves and reactions.  They believe that the spine shouldn’t be just considered a column but a “dynamic chain of segments that can rotate.”  Ultimately, viewing the spine in that manner, say the researchers, makes it apparent that torque can readily cause damage.


Current modes of the spine look at forces on a single joint or simple series of joints, reports New Scientist.  The FSS is reported to take into account all 25 movable joints in the spine, soft tissue and the way a body moves when attempting to stabilize itself.


— New Scientist

This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2003-09-01.