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Spine Biomechanics

Chronic low back pain is a significant public health problem in industrialized society. The intact spine carries the upper body and external loads, allows motion in a physiological range and protects the spinal cord. These different demands necessitate a high degree of complexity with various sources for disorders and pain. The JWI conducts research in order to counter pain causes and to further optimize the pain treatment.

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Degeneration of the Intervertebral Disc and Facet Joints

Course of degeneration within a functional spinal unit

Finite-element models with differently degenerated discs compared by using macroscopic and radiographic examinations.

The degeneration of the intervertebral disc and the facet joints is one major reason for specific low back pain which can be induced, among other factors, by inappropriate mechanical stresses and overloading. It is still a matter of debate which structure is affected first by degenerative processes and whether a correlation exists between both. This knowledge, however, is crucial for the choice of appropriate treatment strategies.  It provides basic know-how to optimize the development of spinal implants and helps to take a decision regarding the indication of fusion or motion-preserving implants.

The aim of our research in this field is to clarify the course of degeneration within a functional spinal unit.