Spine Biomechanics

Univ.-Prof. biol. hum. Hendrik Schmidt

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 Julius Wolff Institute conducts research in order to counter pain causes and to further optimize the pain treatment.

You are here:

Spinal motion, loads and stresses - mechanical causes for back pain

Spine

Today, we know that excessive mechanical loading can cause back pain. We also know that a lack of exercise is a risk factor for the occurrence of back pain. However, the correct dose of exercise is unknown, i.e., how much exercise (spinal motion and loading) is required to avoid long-term back pain or to relieve back pain patients from their ailment. It is known that mechanical stimuli (tensions, strains or fluid currents) and electrical flow potentials influence cell metabolism. Too much or too little stress can cause degeneration or damage and thus can also be a trigger of back pain.

Till now, it is not known how spinal motion, loading as well as stresses and strains interact. The spine biomechanics group of the Julius Wolff Institute investigates the interaction of these three factors in order to get a better understanding of mechanical back pain causes and to develop strategies for prevention and therapy in cooperation with our clinical partners.