Background: Wearable sensor technology may allow accurate monitoring of spine movement outside a clinical setting. The concurrent validity of wearable sensors during multiplane tasks, such as lifting, is unknown. This study assessed DorsaVi Version 6 sensors for their concurrent validity with the Vicon motion analysis system for measuring lumbar flexion during lifting. Methods: Twelve participants (nine with, and three without back pain) wore sensors on T12 and S2 spinal levels with Vicon surface markers attached to those sensors. Participants performed 5 symmetrical (lifting from front) and 20 asymmetrical lifts (alternate lifting from left and right). The global-T12-angle, global-S2-angle and the angle between these two sensors (relative-lumbar-angle) were output in the sagittal plane. Agreement between systems was determined through-range and at peak flexion, using multilevel mixed-effects regression models to calculate root mean square errors and standard deviation. Mean differences and limits of agreement for peak flexion were calculated using the Bland Altman method. Results: For through-range measures of symmetrical lifts, root mean squared errors (standard deviation) were 0.86° (0.78) at global-T12-angle, 0.90° (0.84) at global-S2-angle and 1.34° (1.25) at relative-lumbar-angle. For through-range measures of asymmetrical lifts, root mean squared errors (standard deviation) were 1.84° (1.58) at global-T12-angle, 1.90° (1.65) at global-S2-angle and 1.70° (1.54) at relative-lumbar-angle. The mean difference (95% limit of agreement) for peak flexion of symmetrical lifts, was − 0.90° (-6.80 to 5.00) for global-T12-angle, 0.60° (-2.16 to 3.36) for global-S2-angle and − 1.20° (-8.06 to 5.67) for relative-lumbar-angle. The mean difference (95% limit of agreement) for peak flexion of asymmetrical lifts was − 1.59° (-8.66 to 5.48) for global-T12-angle, -0.60° (-7.00 to 5.79) for global-S2-angle and − 0.84° (-8.55 to 6.88) for relative-lumbar-angle. Conclusion: The root means squared errors were slightly better for symmetrical lifts than they were for asymmetrical lifts. Mean differences and 95% limits of agreement showed variability across lift types. However, the root mean squared errors for all lifts were better than previous research and below clinically acceptable thresholds. This research supports the use of lumbar flexion measurements from these inertial measurement units in populations with low back pain, where multi-plane lifting movements are assessed.
Bibliographical noteCopyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.
- Concurrent validity
- Inertial sensor
- Lumbar spine