The London Lumbar Spine Model

A musculoskeletal model of the lower limbs and lumbar spine was developed in OpenSim (Delp et al., 2007), based on full-body MRI scans of healthy volunteers. Lower limbs are based on the existing model published by Modenese et al. The spine is modelled with five articulated lumbar vertebrae linked to a three-segment thoracic and cervical spine. Arms and head are also included for mass properties. Every bone in the model is segmented from the MRI scans. Insertions and paths of the 566 Hill-type muscle actuators are also based on the scans. Muscle anatomy of the spine is partially adapted from the dataset published by Christophy et al.

This model is used to estimate muscle and joint contact forces in the spine for a wide range of daily living activities, including all sorts of lifting tasks. It is hoped that the results of these simulations, coupled with the finite element models currently under development in the group, will help our understanding of the spine structures’ deformations under different loadings.


Clement Favier
Dr Andrew Phillips
Prof Alison McGregor