Author(s): Hindle RJ, Pearcy MJ, Cross A
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Abstract The mechanical function of the interspinous and supraspinous ligaments has been examined by simulating, on excised specimens, the deformation caused during forward flexion of the spine in real life. The load extension curves showed that during the first half of flexion the ligaments carried very little load but towards the end of the range of flexion they resisted up to 134N. When the supraspinous ligament was sectioned the interspinous ligament alone resisted 75\% of this load. Testing at high strain rates showed an increase in load-carrying capacity of up to 30\%. The maximum extension moment that can be produced by these ligaments was calculated to be approximately 7 Nm, or 5\% of the moment the back muscles can produce across any intervertebral joint. Hence, during active lifting, these ligaments in isolation provide little mechanical assistance.
This article was published in J Biomed Eng
and referenced in Journal of Spine