Intervertebral Disc High Impact Loading

Naval Special Warfare (NSW) personnel are exposed to repeated shocks during operation of their high-speed boats. The shocks stem from the changing vertical accelerations that lead to the upward pitching and then downward crashing of the vehicle in open water missions. Over time, this repeated loading results in back pain and intervertebral disc degeneration for the personnel. Unfortunately, due to the lack of detailed information regarding the subject, the relationships between high impact loads and disc biomechanics is not well understood. Due to this, we are currently working to obtain more information on disc biomechanics and high impact loading in an effort refine ISO Standards to better reflect conditions of special operations units serving on high-speed boats. The main goal of this project is to obtain data on the mechanical behavior and failure analysis of intervertebral discs subjected to high impact loading scenarios.