The stiffness matrix is a useful way to describe the mechanical behaviour of the functional spinal unit, which is defined as the superior and inferior vertebrae, capsules and ligaments. This usefulness is extended by means of the concept of the "balance point". The balance point is the load application point where the coupling coefficients of the stiffness matrix are minimized. Theoretical considerations are used to demonstrate that the stiffness matrix varies with load point location and thus a single stiffness matrix does not fully characterize the motion segment as well as to derive the stiffness matrix at any one specified point from the stiffness matrix at some other specified point. Special characteristics of the stiffness matrix obtained by loading through the "balance point" were shown. Some possible advantages derived from mechanical testing using the "balance point" concept are discussed. This study validates an improved stiffness matrix model that enhances the understanding of pathological changes by setting the gold standard of the behaviour of a normal functional spinal unit. Copyright © 2019 IPEM. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
CitationChow, D. H. K., & Pope, M. H. (2019). An improved stiffness matrix model of the functional spinal unit for application to an improved understanding of pathological changes. Medical Engineering & Physics, 74, 166-171. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2019.09.013
- Stiffness matrix
- Balance point