Wireless Monitoring of the Muscle Blood Flow in Low Back Pain Population

Technology Overview

Prolonged sitting has been identified as one of the risk factors associated with lower back pain (LBP). Slumped sitting posture, commonly observed in daily activities, results in spine flexion and increases the erector spinae (ES) muscle activity. This in turn elevates the joint compressive forces and the intra-muscular pressure, disrupting ES muscle blood flow and muscle oxygenation. Association has been established between muscle blood flow and fatigue.


The near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is commonly used to measure muscle oxygenation. This non-invasive technology is commonly used by researchers due to its high accuracy. It is based on the absorption of near infrared light between the oxygenated and non-oxygenated hemoglobin and myoglobin. However, this is not well applicable in clinical settings due to its high costs and bulkiness.

Technology Features & Specifications

This study investigated the agreement between Photophlethysmography (PPG) devices and near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in measuring muscle blood flow/oxygenation, in both healthy and LBP population; and the changes of muscle blood flow/oxygenation for ES in both healthy and LBP population during prolonged sitting.


The data collected from this study was used to develop a portable and wireless device to measure the back muscle blood flow, in both healthy and LBP population. There is no existing portable device/system monitoring muscle blood flow/oxygenation available in the market.

Potential Applications

Wireless monitoring muscle blood flow/oxygenation of the ES would allow early detection of lower oxygenation levels to alert the user before actual fatigue and LBP sets in.

Customer Benefits

Reduce the risk of chronic LBP for both healthy and LBP population.

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