S. Mikuckytė “Investigation of biomechanical spine behaviour under various loadings and development of spine rehabilitation methods” doctoral dissertation defence

Thesis Defense

Author, Institution: Sandra Mikuckytė, Kaunas University of Technology

Science area, field of science: Technological Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, T009

Scientific Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Habil. Vytautas Ostaševičius (Kaunas University of Technology, Technological Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, T009).

Dissertation Defence Board of Mechanical Engineering Science Field:
Prof. Dr. Habil. Arvydas Palevičius (Kaunas University of Technology, Technological Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, T009) – chairman
Prof. Dr. Giedrius Janušas (Kaunas University of Technology, Technological Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, T009)
Dr. Joanna Mystkowska (Bialystok University of Technology, Poland, Technological Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, T009),
Prof. Dr. Antanas Vaitkus (Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Medical and Health Scienes, Medicine, M001).

The doctoral dissertation is available at the libraries of Kaunas University of Technology (K. Donelaičio St. 20, Kaunas, Lithuania) and Vytautas Magnus University (Studentų g. 11, Akademija, Kauno raj.)


The human spine is a complex structure and any changes in this structure could lead to discomfort, loss of function, or pain. For example, the global prevalence of low back pain increased by 17.3% between 2005 and 2015. Low back pain can be caused by various known and unknown disorders. One of the more common causes of low back pain is intervertebral disc degeneration. Although the exact cause of disc degeneration is still unknown but as spine may be considered as a mechanical system, intervertebral disc degeneration may be related with the history of mechanical loading. Depending on the load it may improve or damage the condition of the discs. The aim of this research is to numerically and experimentally investigate the biomechanical behaviour of the human lumbar spine and to propose noninvasive measures for lumbar spine prevention and rehabilitation.

Poroelastic finite element model of intervertebral disc is presented in the thesis. It allows to evaluate the influence of various mechanical loadings on the fluid flow velocity within the intervertebral disc. Experimental in vitro research helped to evaluate the impact of different frequency cyclic loading on the intervertebral discs. A spinal actuator has been developed and patented. The experimental study has shown that the lateral bending exercise performed on the spinal actuator significantly increases the activity of the multifidi muscles compared with the lateral bending exercise without any assisting equipment.

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