Load Distribution in the Lumbar Spine During Modeled Compression Depends on Lordosis

Andreas Müller, Robert Rockenfeller, Nicolas Damm, Michael Kosterhon, Sven R. Kantelhardt, Ameet K. Aiyangar, Karin Gruber
2021 Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology  
Excessive or incorrect loading of lumbar spinal structures is commonly assumed as one of the factors to accelerate degenerative processes, which may lead to lower back pain. Accordingly, the mechanics of the spine under medical conditions, such as scoliosis or spondylolisthesis, is well-investigated. Treatments via both conventional therapy and surgical methods alike aim at restoring a "healthy" (or at least pain-free) load distribution. Yet, surprisingly little is known about the inter-subject
more » ... variability of load bearings within a "healthy" lumbar spine. Hence, we utilized computer tomography data from 28 trauma-room patients, whose lumbar spines showed no visible sign of degeneration, to construct simplified multi-body simulation models. The subject-specific geometries, measured by the corresponding lumbar lordosis (LL) between the endplates of vertebra L1 and the sacrum, served as ceteris paribus condition in a standardized forward dynamic compression procedure. Further, the influence of stimulating muscles from the M. multifidus group was assessed. For the range of available LL from 28 to 66°, changes in compressive and shear forces, bending moments, as well as facet joint forces between adjacent vertebrae were calculated. While compressive forces tended to decrease with increasing LL, facet forces were tendentiously increasing. Shear forces decreased between more cranial vertebrae and increased between more caudal ones, while bending moments remained constant. Our results suggest that there exist significant, LL-dependent variations in the loading of "healthy" spinal structures, which should be considered when striving for individually appropriate therapeutic measures.
doi:10.3389/fbioe.2021.661258 pmid:34178959 pmcid:PMC8222614 fatcat:t5g6s72canc4hael6mygow4cd4