UCO in collaboration with Imperial College on Back Pain Research

UCO's Dr Kevin Brownhill tells us a little about his latest research project into back pain, run in collaboration with Imperial College London.

Back pain is not a well-understood condition. There’s usually no identifiable injury, and rarely any disease process. Because of this, MRI scans and X-rays are often inconclusive. This uncertainty is distressing for people suffering from back pain. Instead, some researchers suspect the problem lies in how the body coordinates its many joints and muscles. An exciting collaboration between the UCO research department and the world-famous MSk Lab at Imperial College, London, seeks to address this.


Dr Enrica Papi of the MSk Lab and Dr Kevin Brownhill of the UCO are looking at differences in movements during daily activities, such as standing from a seated position, walking and lifting.

This is a subject close to the heart of osteopaths, who have long recognised the importance of function in our patients. They are seeking people with back pain from the UCO clinics to help them in this quest.

Sophisticated motion capture technology at Imperial College is being used to record these movements and the data is now being analysed. This is not yet finished, but innovative visualisation techniques are being used to see if the movement can help us understand what is going wrong in back pain.

An example of one volunteer’s data is shown in the video clip. Here, data from a standing from sitting movement is being used to animate a skeletal model. 

If you are interested in finding out more about this study, contact Kevin Brownhill (kevin.brownhill@uco.ac.uk) or Enrica Papi (e.papi@imperial.ac.uk). 


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