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Center for Mechanistic studies

Motor Control Research in differentiating Function Variation in Low Back Pain Syndromes.


SRI Scientists

  • Brian Degenhardt, DO
  • Jeremy Houser, PhD

Other Investigators

  • Micheal Bird, PhD


The long-term objective of this line of research is to determine if objective measurements of muscle activity and balance can consistently differentiate between the following groups: those with a history and clinical signs of chronic low back pain of spinal origin, those subjects with unilateral chronic posterior pelvic pain of likely sacroiliac joint origin, and those with no low back or pelvic pain.


Through collaboration with Truman State University faculty in the exercise science department, this project aims

  1. To investigate any consistent variations in the symmetry of activation levels between muscles of the left and right sides across the three groups for each of the functional activities: step up and over (SUO), squat (SQT), and bend over and up (BOU)
  2. To investigate any disparities in the magnitudes of normalized muscle activation across the three groups for each of the three functional activities,
  3. To investigate the differences in muscle recruitment patterns across the three groups for each of the functional activities
  4. To investigate the differences in postural/movement outcome between the three groups when performing the SUO, SQT, and BOU movements,
  5. To determine if there are unique characteristics of somatic dysfunctions within the three groups.


  1. Houser JJ, Degenhardt BF, Bird M, Valovich McLeod TC, Hodges C, Shurtz N, Kvam V, Kirsch J. Comparing EMG in Women with Chronic Low back Pain to Healthy Controls During Selected Functional Activities. Accepted for presentation at the World Congress on Low Back Pain, Dubai, 2013.