Is Vibration Truly an Injurious Stimulus in the Human Spine?
Authors: Taryn E Hill, Geoffrey T Desmoulin, Christopher J Hunter
Publication: Journal of Biomechanics, Volume 42, Issue 16, Pages 2631-2635
Epidemiological data at one time was taken to suggest that chronic vibrations—for example operating vehicles with low-quality seats—contributed to intervertebral disc degeneration and lower back pain. More recent discussions, based in part upon extended twin studies, have cast doubt upon this interpretation, and question how much of the vibration is actually transmitted to the spine during loading. This review summarizes our recent survey of the current state of knowledge. In particular, we note that current studies are lacking a detailed factorial exploration of frequency, amplitude, and duration; this may be the primary cause for inconclusive and/or contradictory studies. It is our conclusion that vibrations are still an important consideration in discogenic back pain, and further controlled studies are warranted to definitively examine the underlying hypothesis: that chronic vibration can influence IVD cell biology and tissue mechanics.