It is common to find people with back pain when exposed to vibration, especially when the spine is flexed forward in combination. In a recent prize winning vibration research paper titled: “Vibration Really Does Disrupt the Disc”
Using forces of 1300N +/- 500N (approximately 135 kg-force) they cycled the load in a sinusoidal way at a rate of 5Hz. This can be explained as 5 oscillative pushes in 1 second for 20,000-48,000 times (low dose) and also for 70,000-128,000 times (high dose).
What was interesting was they found no catastrophic failure in both the low rate or the high rate doses of vibration but progressive internal damage to the annular fibres. Using specialized imaging techniques, they were able to see the effect of vibration on the most inner fibres of the intervertebral disc.
Whole body vibration experienced by a huge percentage of workers appear to be implcated is a vast array of musculoskeletal injuries; back pain being frequent. 2
The researchers concluded that the findings of this vibration research could lead to a better understanding on how degeneration begins in the discs of the spine. They found that the damage induced by the vibration is slow and progressive rather than an acute one time catastrophic failure event and could provide some serious clues on how back pain develops.
- Kelly R. Wade, PhD, Meredith L. Schollum, PhD, Peter A. Robertson, MD, Ashvin Thambyah, PhD,and Neil D. Broom, PhD. ISSLS Prize Winner: Vibration Really Does Disrupt the Disc. A Microanatomical Investigation.SPINE Volume 41, Number 15, pp 1185–1198 ↩
- Johanning E. Whole-body vibration-related health disorders in occupational medicine— an international comparison. Ergonomics 2015;58:1239–52. ↩