Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Babak Bazrgari


Low back pain (LBP) is a significant issue related to spinal stability and, therefore, to trunk stiffness. Due to the nature of their work, nursing personnel are exposed to potential risk factors for LBP, such as lifting and trunk flexion, which have been reported in the literature to lead to decreases in trunk stiffness. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to investigate potential occupational effects on the trunk stiffness in nursing personnel. Twenty-four nursing personnel participated in this study and completed two sessions (pre-shift and post-shift) during which two passive flexion tests (with and without an ~7.5-lb load) were conducted to characterize their trunk stiffness in upright standing. Overall, no work-related changes in trunk stiffness were found in this study. However, trunk stiffness was higher for the loading condition with the load being held in the subjects’ hands than for the condition without this load (p=0.002). Finding no work-related changes in trunk stiffness may have resulted from the heterogeneity of the recruited sample of nursing personnel and the potential recovery of trunk stiffness before their post-shift data collection sessions. Future studies should try to reduce participant heterogeneity and perform data collection closer to where the participants work.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

Funding for this study was provided by a small grant from the University of Kentucky Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) (2018-2020).