Send to

Choose Destination
J Biomech. 2004 Feb;37(2):205-12.

Structural behavior of human lumbar spinal motion segments.

Author information

Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Vermont, Stafford Hall, Burlington, VT 05405-0084, USA.


The objectives of this study were to obtain linearized stiffness matrices, and assess the linearity and hysteresis of the motion segments of the human lumbar spine under physiological conditions of axial preload and fluid environment. Also, the stiffness matrices were expressed in the form of an 'equivalent' structure that would give insights into the structural behavior of the spine. Mechanical properties of human cadaveric lumbar L2-3 and L4-5 spinal motion segments were measured in six degrees of freedom by recording forces when each of six principal displacements was applied. Each specimen was tested with axial compressive preloads of 0, 250 and 500 N. The displacements were four slow cycles of +/-0.5mm in anterior-posterior and lateral displacements, +/-0.35 mm axial displacement, +/-1.5 degrees lateral rotation and +/-1 degrees flexion-extension and torsional rotations. There were significant increases with magnitude of preload in the stiffness, hysteresis area (but not loss coefficient) and the linearity of the load-displacement relationship. The mean values of the diagonal and primary off-diagonal stiffness terms for intact motion segments increased significantly relative to values with no preload by an average factor of 1.71 and 2.11 with 250 and 500 N preload, respectively (all eight tests p<0.01). Half of the stiffness terms were greater at L4-5 than L2-3 at higher preloads. The linearized stiffness matrices at each preload magnitude were expressed as an equivalent structure consisting of a truss and a beam with a rigid posterior offset, whose geometrical properties varied with preload. These stiffness properties can be used in structural analyses of the lumbar spine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center