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Landmark study uncovers reasons behind recurring back injury

loads on the spine lead to more serious back injuries, such as disc degeneration, which require surgery. What's more, lifting objects slowly, as injured people also tend to do, only intensifies the harm. "Moving slowly just increases the length of time the spine has to endure those extra forces," Marras said.

Marras directs Ohio State's Biodynamics Laboratory, where he and his colleagues conducted this study to compare how people with and without back injuries use their muscles.

His colleagues included Sue Ferguson, a research scientist, Benjamin Lucas, a graduate student, and Kermit Davis, a former graduate student who is now an assistant professor of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation funded this research to combat back injury -- the number one reason Americans miss work, after the common cold. Across the country in 1999, more than 420,000 people missed work because of back injury. Each lost an average of 6 days on the job, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Ohio State study compared the lifting activity of 22 uninjured adults to that of 22 people who were suffering from lower pack pain (LBP). The LBP participants were recruited from the practice of Purnendu Gupta, an orthopaedic surgeon formerly at Ohio State, and now at the University of Chicago.

No other studies have been able to make such a comparison,
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Contact: William Marras
Marras.1@osu.edu
614-292-6670
Ohio State University
1-Dec-2001


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