Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 1-31-1999

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering - (M.S.)


Biomedical Engineering Committee

First Advisor

R. S. Sodhi

Second Advisor

David S. Kristol

Third Advisor

Peter Engler

Fourth Advisor

James A. Mertz

Fifth Advisor

Sue Ann Sisto

Sixth Advisor

Michael J. Warner


Millions of people suffer from acute or chronic low back pain. In order for proper treatment to be administered, a patient must receive an accurate diagnosis. Therefore, it is critical to develop an objective model to measure the motion and any dysfunction of a patient's low back. Only then can a physician effectively implement the correct therapy and measure its effectiveness through follow-up to minimize or eliminate low back pain.

Numerous cadaveric, active and passive studies have been done to understand the mechanics of low back disorders. However, only living human subjects suffer from low back pain and therefore cadaveric studies may be limiting. Furthermore, the author believes that an active study may also be deficient since the measuring device in such a study is manipulated by the test subject. This would not provide objective measured data. Therefore, this study employs the passive approach whereby objective data can be attained from analyzing a living human subject's low back.

The Anatomic Torsion Monitor (ATM) is designed to diagnose any dysfunction in a human subject's low back. The ATM is used to test the low back of a living human subject while in a passive supine position. The force-displacement responses, generated by the ATM, are used to quantify stored energy and coercive forces in the low back region of a subject. The values of the stored energy and coercive forces are then used to make inferences about the physiological condition of the subject's low back.



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