Three-dimensional static modeling of the lumbar spine

Ernur Karadogan, Robert L. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper presents three-dimensional static modeling of the human lumbar spine to be used in the formation of anatomically-correct movement patterns for a fully cable-actuated robotic lumbar spine which can mimic in vivo human lumbar spine movements to provide better hands-on training for medical students. The mathematical model incorporates five lumbar vertebrae between the first lumbar vertebra and the sacrum, with dimensions of an average adult human spine. The vertebrae are connected to each other by elastic elements, torsional springs and a spherical joint located at the inferoposterior corner in the mid-sagittal plane of the vertebral body. Elastic elements represent the ligaments that surround the facet joints and the torsional springs represent the collective effect of intervertebral disc which plays a major role in balancing torsional load during upper body motion and the remaining ligaments that support the spinal column. The elastic elements and torsional springs are considered to be nonlinear. The nonlinear stiffness constants for six motion types were solved using a multiobjective optimization technique. The quantitative comparison between the angles of rotations predicted by the proposed model and in the experimental data confirmed that the model yields angles of rotation close to the experimental data. The main contribution is that the new model can be used for all motions while the experimental data was only obtained at discrete measurement points.

Original languageEnglish
Article number084504
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • human lumbar spine
  • RLS
  • robotic lumbar spine
  • three-dimensional static modeling


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