Estimating the L5S1 flexion/extension moment in symmetrical lifting using a simplified ambulatory measurement system

Axel S. Koopman, Idsart Kingma*, Gert S. Faber, Jonas Bornmann, Jaap H. van Dieën

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Mechanical loading of the spine has been shown to be an important risk factor for the development of low-back pain. Inertial motion capture (IMC) systems might allow measuring lumbar moments in realistic working conditions, and thus support evaluation of measures to reduce mechanical loading. As the number of sensors limits applicability, the objective of this study was to investigate the effect of the number of sensors on estimates of L5S1 moments.Hand forces, ground reaction forces (GRF) and full-body kinematics were measured using a gold standard (GS) laboratory setup. In the ambulatory setup, hand forces were estimated based on the force plates measured GRF and body kinematics that were measured using (subsets of) an IMC system. Using top-down inverse dynamics, L5S1 flexion/extension moments were calculated.RMSerrors (Nm) were lowest (16.6) with the full set of 17 sensors and increased to 20.5, 22 and 30.6, for 8, 6 and 4 sensors. Absolute errors in peak moments (Nm) ranged from 17.7 to 16.4, 16.9 and 49.3Nm, for IMC setup's with 17, 8, 6 and 4 sensors, respectively. When horizontal GRF were neglected for 6 sensors, RMSerrors and peak moment errors decreased from 22 to 17.3 and from 16.9 to 13Nm, respectively.In conclusion, while reasonable moment estimates can be obtained with 6 sensors, omitting the forearm sensors led to unacceptable errors. Furthermore, vertical GRF information is sufficient to estimate L5S1 moments in lifting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242–248
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Early online date12 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2018


  • Ambulatory measurements
  • Inertial sensors & vertical ground reaction forces
  • Low-back pain
  • Mechanical loading


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