Dynamic Response of the Lumbar Spine to Whole-body Vibration Under a Compressive Follower Preload

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Study Design.A finite element study of dynamic response of the lumbar spine to whole-body vibration.Objective.The aim of this study was to develop and validate a finite element model for exploring the impact of whole-body vibration on the entire lumbar spine with a compressive follower preload applied.Summary of Background Data.Several finite element studies have investigated the biodynamic characteristics of the human lumbar spine when exposed to whole-body vibration. However, very limited studies have been performed to quantitatively describe dynamic response in time domain of the entire lumbar spine to vibration loading under a compressive follower preload.Methods.A three-dimensional nonlinear finite element model of the human lumbar spine (L1–sacrum) subjected to the compressive follower preload was created. Transient dynamic analysis was conducted on the model to compute the spinal response to a sinusoidal vertical vibration load of ±40 N under a 400 N preload. The obtained dynamic response results at all spinal levels were collected and plotted as a function of time. As a comparison, the corresponding results for vertical static loads (-40 and 40 N) under the preload (400 N) were also computed.Results.Plots of the dynamic response at all levels showed a cyclic response with time, and their vibration amplitudes (peak-to-bottom variations) were markedly higher than the corresponding changing amplitudes of static load cases. The increasing effect of the vibration load reached 314.5%, 263.2%, 242.4%, and 232.7%, respectively, in axial displacement of vertebral center, disc bulge, intradiscal pressure, and annulus stress (von-Mises stress). In addition, increasing the compressive follower preload led to an increase in the dynamic response and a decrease in their vibration amplitudes.Conclusion.This study may be useful to help quantify the effect of cyclic loading on the entire lumbar spine under physiologic compressive loading, and better understand vibration characteristics of the spine.Level of Evidence: 5

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