Response of the ligamentous lumbar spine to cyclic bending loads

Vijay K. Goel, L. M. Voo, James Neil Weinstein*, Y. King Liu, Tetsuo Okuma, Glen O. Njus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The effect of a “pure” cyclic flexion bending moment on the three-dimensional load-displacement behavior of fresh ligamentous lumbar spine was investigated. The load-displacement behavior, for 11 L1-sacrum specimens, pre- and post-cyclic fatigue bending tests were quantified using a Selspot II system. A special fixture was designed to mount the specimen within the MTS system to administer “pure” cyclic flexion bending, under displacement control, for 5 hours. The testing was accomplished In a 100% humidity chamber at 0.5 Hz. The maximum cyclic bending moment, based on the literature dealing with loads experienced by the spine during activities involving lifting, was set at 3.0 Nm. An increase In motion of the order of 10% In the extension loading mode was observed. The increase in motion in other loading modes was not significant. In the extension loading mode, the increase in the anteroposterior displacement (retrodlsplacement) in general was higher than the corresponding rotation component. The results suggest that the bending moment of low magnitude, usually experienced by the spine during activities of dally living, alone may not trigger the mechanical failure processes in the disc. The presence of high axial compressive loads on the disc seems to be the main contributing factor in this process. The presence of bending moments and axial twist along with axial compressive load may accelerate the unstable processes leading to low back pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-300
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1988


  • Biomechanics
  • Cyclic bending
  • Fatigue response
  • Motion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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