The Dynamics of the Spine: Mechanics, Morphology, and Movement for a Comprehensive Diagnosis of Back Pain
DFG Research Consortium 5177
Charité, BIH, Medical School Berlin, Zuse Institut Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, Humboldt Universität Berlin
Lower back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders. They are therefore of great medical, social and, last but not least, economic importance. The interdisciplinary research group "The Dynamics of the Spine: Mechanics, Morphology and Movement for a Comprehensive Diagnosis of Back Pain" aims to gain fundamentally new insights into how back pain develops in order to improve diagnosis and therapy. To this end, the consortium brings together researchers from various disciplines and plans to examine 3,000 test subjects with and without back problems.
The reasons why the back starts to hurt are indeed diverse: The known causes include lack of exercise and obesity, incorrect posture in the workplace, frequent and incorrect lifting and carrying of loads. In addition, certain physical illnesses can lead to back pain. Even stress and everyday worries do not leave our backs without a trace, because in addition to physical illnesses, mood, learning processes and psychological stress can also be related to pain in the back. Less is known about the genetic basis, biochemical mechanisms, social triggers or the interplay of several factors.
Currently, back pain is treated on the basis of a one-time physical exam and / or imaging tests such as an MRIand X-rays made a clinical diagnosis and recommended certain therapies. However, these static “snapshots” in an environment that is unfamiliar to the patient do not provide sufficient information about the underlying mechanisms of back pain. This very often results in incorrect diagnoses and therapy decisions, which later turn out to be "therapy failures". “We want to improve this unsatisfactory situation through scientific studies. In the future, the spine must be understood as an organ system “with a dynamic function” and biochemical and psychosocial relationships must also be recorded. We want to go from a static short-term analysis (“snapshot”) to a dynamic image of the spine and collect measured values for posture and the movement profile in everyday life.
For the study, we are looking for test subjects between the ages of 18 and 64 with and without back pain. The study is expected to begin on January 1, 2022.