Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 43, Issue 9, pp 2120–2130 | Cite as

The Effects of Experimentally Induced Low Back Pain on Spine Rotational Stiffness and Local Dynamic Stability

  • Gwyneth B. Ross
  • Matthew Mavor
  • Stephen H. M. Brown
  • Ryan B. Graham


Local dynamic stability, quantified using the maximum finite-time Lyapunov exponent (λ max), and the muscular contributions to spine rotational stiffness can provide pertinent information regarding the neuromuscular control of the spine during movement tasks. The primary goal of the present study was to assess if experimental capsaicin-induced low back pain (LBP) affects spine stability and the neuromuscular control of repetitive trunk movements in a group of healthy participants with no history of LBP. Fourteen healthy males were recruited for this investigation. Each participant was asked to complete three trials (baseline, in pain, and recovery) of 35 cycles of a repetitive trunk flexion/extension task at a rate of 0.25 Hz. Local dynamic stability and the muscular contributions to lumbar spine rotational stiffness were significantly impaired during the LBP trial compared to the baseline trial (p < 0.05); however, there was a trend for these measures to recover after a 1 h rest. This study provides evidence that capsaicin can effectively induce LBP, thereby altering spine rotational stiffness and local dynamic stability. Future research should directly compare the effects capsaicin-induced LBP and intramuscular/intraligamentous induced LBP on these same variables.


Neuromuscular control Lyapunov exponents Spine rotational stiffness Capsaicin Biomechanical modeling 



This project was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada (RGPIN-2014-05560—R. Graham).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gwyneth B. Ross
    • 1
    • 2
  • Matthew Mavor
    • 1
  • Stephen H. M. Brown
    • 3
  • Ryan B. Graham
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Physical and Health Education, Schulich School of EducationNipissing UniversityNorth BayCanada
  2. 2.Biomechanics and Ergonomics Laboratory, School of Kinesiology and Health StudiesQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Human Health and Nutritional SciencesUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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