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Senteler M, Weise B, Rothenfluh DA, Snedeker JG. Intervertebral reaction force prediction using an enhanced assembly of OpenSim models. Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering (2015)

OpenSim offers a valuable approach to investigating otherwise difficult to assess yet important biomechanical parameters such as joint reaction forces. Although the range of available models in the public repository is continually increasing, there currently exists no OpenSim model for the computation of intervertebral joint reactions during flexion and lifting tasks. The current work combines and improves elements of existing models to develop an enhanced model of the upper body and lumbar spine. Models of the upper body with extremities, neck and head were combined with an improved version of a lumbar spine from the model repository. Translational motion was enabled for each lumbar vertebrae with six controllable degrees of freedom. Motion segment stiffness was implemented at lumbar levels and mass properties were assigned throughout the model. Moreover, body coordinate frames of the spine were modified to allow straightforward variation of sagittal alignment and to simplify interpretation of results. Evaluation of model predictions for level L1–L2, L3–L4 and L4–L5 in various postures of forward flexion and moderate lifting (8 kg) revealed an agreement within 10% to experimental studies and model-based computational analyses. However, in an extended posture or during lifting of heavier loads (20 kg), computed joint reactions differed substantially from reported in vivo measures using instrumented implants. We conclude that agreement between the model and available experimental data was good in view of limitations of both the model and the validation datasets. The presented model is useful in that it permits computation of realistic lumbar spine joint reaction forces during flexion and moderate lifting tasks. The model and corresponding documentation are now available in the online OpenSim repository.

Provides a model and corresponding documentation for the prediction of intervertebral joint reaction forces.

License: Geometry Files, Lumbar Spine 30 DOF, Lumbar Spine 3 DOF

This project provides a model, supplementary files, and corresponding documentation for the prediction of intervertebral joint reaction forces.


The downloads provided are listed in the following. Please refer to the documentation and readme files for additional information.

- LumbSpine_3DOF.osim: total flexion, bending, and rotation are controllable parameters, the motion is distributed among the levels based on fixed segmental motion constraints;
- LumbSpine_30DOF.osim: each vertebrae has 6 controllable degrees of freedom

- geometry.zip: contains a folder ''''''''Geometry'''''''' plus a readme.txt file. The geometry files are necessary to display the models correctly. See the readme file for details.

Motion Files:
- flexion30Deg_3DOF.mot: upright standing - 30° flexion - upright standing; for the constraint model (LumbSpine_3DOF.osim)
- flexion30Deg_30DOF.mot: upright standing - 30° flexion - upright standing; for the unconstraint model (LumbSpine_30DOF.osim)


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