New Motion Sensing System Better Indicator of Recovery from Spine Surgery than Reports of Pain


As reported in, our researchers here at the Spine Research Institute have found that subjective levels of pain are not the best way to determine a patient’s recovery from spinal surgery.  Pain during the healing process can be caused by a variety of factors, is highly subjective, and is ultimately a poor way to quantify progress.

Dr. Marras and our team here at the SRI believe how patients move is a much better indicator of clinical recovery from back pain.  We have designed a wearable motion-sensing system that allows researchers to detect changes in the way patients move, creating a less-subjective and more quantifiable measure of recovery.  The system consists of sensors mounted on the upper back and waist of a wearable harnesses to capture a person’s position, range of motion, velocity and acceleration.

Our technology is able to look at (1) whether or not an individual has a back impairment, and (2) what is its status (is it getting better, or worse, is it progressing, or is it off the scales)?  While pain relief is important, objective measurements of spine function may be a better gauge of when it’s safe to return to normal activities after spinal fusion surgery.

You can read more details about this study, which was published in Clinical Biomechanics.