Minimization of Chronic Back Pain in Military Pilots and Vehicle Occupants

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N68335-11-C-0264
Agency Tracking Number: N111-019-0166
Amount: $149,960.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: N111-019
Solicitation Number: 2011.1
Small Business Information
215 Wynn Dr., 5th Floor, Huntsville, AL, -
DUNS: 185169620
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Phillip Whitley
 Manager Research
 (256) 726-4800
Business Contact
 Deborah Phipps
Title: Contracts Manager
Phone: (256) 726-4884
Research Institution
Low back pain attributed to piloting military air vehicles is a significant operational and health problem. The major contributors of lumbar pain have been thought to be seating, task posture and vibration. As the asymptomatic pilot starts to experience pain, repeated painful episodes lead to pain sensitization and chronic pain with possible damage. At this stage pilot readiness is reduced and operational availability may be impacted. Improving the pilot"s operational situation and health protection may be accomplished through improvements in crew station, seating, procedure enhancements, training, and other means. Because of limitations of human pain experiments mathematical modeling of spinal biomechanics and pain neurobiology may provide invaluable help in prediction and mitigation of back pain in military pilots, and operators of combat vehicles. We propose to integrate existing FEM biomechanics models of a human body and spine with mathematical models of pain neurobiology and use them to analyze them to simulate a response of an occupant to the inertial and positional stressors. The pain model will combine mechanical, physiological and biochemical mechanisms of nociception, neuronal transmission, sensitization and perception of pain in spinal structures including intervertebral discs, spinal nerves, ligaments and muscles and facets. . This multi-scale human body, spinal column and pain model will be used to"expose"a simulated occupant to various loads: inertial, vibration, seating (geometry and cushions), restraints, and protective clothing/equipment. The validated model will be used for Use the model to analyze existing operational procedures and propose improved operational guidelines.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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