Past Articles

Low Back Pain Compresses the Spine

A study was recently conducted by the University of Chicago to determine how low back pain influences the spine while lifting. An important, yet unresolved, issue associated with low back pain is whether patients with low back pain experience spine loading that differs from that of individuals who do not have low back pain. In this study, 22 patients with low back pain and 22 asymptomatic individuals performed controlled and free-dynamic exertions. Patients with low back pain experienced 26% greater spine compression and 75% greater lateral shear (normalized to moment) than the asymptomatic group during the controlled lifting. The findings suggest a significant mechanical spine loading cost is associated with low back pain resulting from trunk muscle coactivation. This loading is further exacerbated by the increases in body weight that often accompany low back pain. Patient weight control and proper workplace design can minimize the additional spine loading associated with low back pain.

Source: SPINE 2001;26:2566-2574