Prediction of Biomechanical Parameters in the Lumbar Spine During Static Sagittal Plane Lifting

[+] Author and Article Information
W. Z. Kong

Department of Body Engineering and Integration, General Motors R&D Center, Warren, MI 48090

V. K. Goel

Iowa Spine Research Center, Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopædics, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1A 52242

L. G. Gilbertson

Department of Orthopædic Surgery, The University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

J Biomech Eng 120(2), 273-280 (Apr 01, 1998) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2798312 History: Received April 18, 1996; Revised April 03, 1997; Online October 30, 2007


A combined approach involving optimization and the finite element technique was used to predict biomechanical parameters in the lumbar spine during static lifting in the sagittal plane. Forces in muscle fascicles of the lumbar region were first predicted using an optimization-based force model including the entire lumbar spine. These muscle forces as well as the distributed upper body weight and the lifted load were then applied to a three-dimensional finite element model of the thoracolumbar spine and rib cage to predict deformation, the intradiskal pressure, strains, stresses, and load transfer paths in the spine. The predicted intradiskal pressures in the L3-4 disk at the most deviated from the in vivo measurements by 8.2 percent for the four lifting cases analyzed. The lumbosacral joint flexed, while the other lumbar joints extended for all of the four lifting cases studied (rotation of a joint is the relative rotation between its two vertebral bodies). High stresses were predicted in the posterolateral regions of the endplates and at the junctions of the pedicles and vertebral bodies. High interlaminar shear stresses were found in the posterolateral regions of the lumbar disks. While the facet joints of the upper two lumbar segments did not transmit any load, the facet joints of the lower two lumbar segments experienced significant loads. The ligaments of all lumbar motion segments except the lumbosacral junction provided only marginal moments. The limitations of the current model and possible improvements are discussed.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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