Computation of trunk muscle forces, spinal loads and stability in whole-body vibration

B. Bazrgari, A. Shirazi-Adl, M. Kasra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Whole-body vibration has been indicated as a risk factor in back disorders. Proper prevention and treatment management, however, requires a sound knowledge of associated muscle forces and loads on the spine. Previous trunk model studies have either neglected or over-simplified the trunk redundancy with time-varying unknown muscle forces. Trunk stability has neither been addressed. A novel iterative dynamic kinematics-driven approach was employed to evaluate muscle forces, spinal loads and system stability in a seated subject under a random vertical base excitation with ∼ ± 1 g peak acceleration contents. This iterative approach satisfied equations of motion in all directions/levels while accounting for the nonlinear passive resistance of the ligamentous spine. The effect of posture, co-activity in abdominal muscles and changes in buttocks stiffness were also investigated. The computed vertical accelerations were in good agreement with measurements. The input base excitation, via inertial and muscle forces, substantially influenced spinal loads and system stability. The flexed posture in sitting increased the net moment, muscle forces and passive spinal loads while improving the trunk stability. Similarly, the introduction of low to moderate antagonistic coactivity in abdominal muscles increased the passive spinal loads and improved the spinal stability. A trade-off, hence, exists between lower muscle forces and spinal loads on one hand and more stable spine on the other. Base excitations with larger peak acceleration contents substantially increase muscle forces/spinal loads and, hence, the risk of injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1334-1347
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Sound and Vibration
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Dec 23 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was supported by grants from the NSERC—Canada and Aga Khan Foundation.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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