Spinal shrinkage under loading - A novel approach using surface back contour analysis stereophotogrammetry
Exposure of the body to impact loads has been associated with spinal shrinkage, and several studies have investigated changes due to loading on stature and specifically spinal shrinkage. Currently the instrument of choice is the stadiometer, which has proven to be cumbersome, requiring patient or subject training, thereby limiting its compliance and use in the work place, sports field or clinic. The two-dimensional, static nature of stadiometer measurement also eliminates the ability to measure the effect of change of posture on spinal shrinkage. The other choice is planar or multi-axial X-ray, which has its obvious limitations. In a contact sport like rugby union, there is growing evidence of spinal degeneration in both the lumbar and cervical spines, particularly those involved in the 'tight' positions in the scrum. These players are exposed to moderately high and relatively sustained forces of up to a third of a tonne on front-row players  that are coupled with torsional and lateral shearing. Insidious onset non-specific back pain is also reported in triathletes , cricket bowlers , and ultra-endurance athletes . However, surprisingly little is known about spinal shrinkage or postural change in athletic performance, and its role in the development of clinical symptoms.
Journal of Biomechanics
Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified