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Department of Orthopedics

Department of Orthopedics

Musculoskeletal Disorders Laboratory

CU Orthopedics

The Musculoskeletal Disorders Laboratory (MDL) is actively pursuing the systemic identification of human movement in health while performing daily living functions, work, and sports as well as the syndrome developed upon injury to one or more components of the anatomy. Rupture of the knee’s anterior cruciate ligament; for example, does create an isolated mechanical deficit but due to the sensory afferents within the ligaments, also elicits deficits in proprioception, kinesthesia and reflexive activation of the associated muscles. Such a syndrome has long-ranging implications that cannot be solved by a simple repair of the damaged ligament but may require additional treatment with muscle re-education, orthotics and physical therapy.

The understanding of the nature of the interaction between bones, ligaments, discs, tendons, muscles and cartilage, and neural components via spinal networks is of paramount interest to sound orthopedic practice as it allows optimal design of surgery with follow-up rehabilitation, physical therapy, orthotics, prosthetics and life style changes for maximal benefits of the patients.

Understanding of the systemic interaction of anatomic components in normal individuals develops the baseline of understanding for objective formation of diagnosis in injured individuals due to occupational or sports activities.


4700 square feet of research space
1000 square feet of office space
600 square feet of conference space
Overall, 6300 square feet of research space is available in a newly constructed modern facility with access to animal facilities, cold storage, and core laboratories.


Material testing system, MTS 858 Minibionix II
5 computer-based data acquisition module stations
2 portable EMG amplifier systems, 6 channel
1 portable EMG amplifier system, 4 channel
Animal surgical setup and instruments
Human spine test system (isometric and isokinetic)
Human knee test system
3 Goniometers
3 Load cells

Current research projects include:

  • Spinal disorders associated with cyclic and static flexion
  • Work or sports-related knee disorders

Graduate Students

Nirav Patel, M.Sc. (2006)

Dept of Electrical Engineering
University of Colorado, Denver

Thesis; EMG Power Spectra Frequencies Associated with Chronic Low Back Pain.


Heather Hoops, M.Sc. (2007)

Dept Of  Mechanical Engineering
Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO.

Thesis; Short Rest Periods are A Risk Factor For Cyclic Lumbar Flexion.


Peter Le, M.Sc. (2007)

Dept Of  Mechanical Engineering
Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO.

Thesis; Load Magnitude Is A Risk Factor for Cyclic Lumbar Flexion.


Deborah Leigh Solomonow, M.Sc. (2008)

Dept of Systems Engineering
Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO

Thesis;  Lumbar Neuromuscular Neutral Zones Response to Cyclic Loading.

Jimmy Youssef, M.Sc. (2008)

Dept  of Electrical Engineering
University of Colorado, Denver, CO.

Thesis; Neuromuscular Neutral Zones Response to Static Lumbar Loading.

Brook Le, M.Sc. (2009)

Dept of Electrical Engineering
University of Colorado, Denver, CO.

Thesis; Impact of Static Load Magnitude On Lumbar Neuromuscula Neutral Zones.

AbdAllah Ben Masaud, M.Sc. (2009)

Dept of Electrical Engineering
University of Colorado, Denver, CO.

Thesis; The Impact of Cyclic Load Magnitude on Lumbar Neuromuscular Neutral Zones.

Medical Students


David Gerhardt    (2006-2007)

Kyle Johnson        (2006-2007)

Imran Choudhry   (2007-2008) Jointly supervised with Dr K. King.

Julian  Ku              (2008-       ) Jointly supervised with Dr K. King.

Research Residents

Dawei Lu, MD, (2008)
Frequency of Cyclic Lumbar Loading Is A Risk Factor For Cumulative Trauma Disorder.

Peter D’Ambrosia, MD, (2009)
Cytokines Increase in Lumbar Ligaments Following Cyclic Flexion at Low and High Load Magnitudes.

Sarah Pinski, MD, (2010)
Motor Control of Lumbar Stability Dependence on Frequency of Flexion.


Todor Arabadzhiev, PhD, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (2005-2006)

Bradley Davidson, PhD,  Virginia Tech (2007-2008)

Xinhai Shan, PhD, Shandong Normal University, China (2009-2010)

Solomonow, M., Eversull, E., Zhou, B., Baratta, R.V. and Zhu, M. (2001)
“Neuromuscular Neutral Zones Associated With Viscoelastic Hysteresis During Cyclic Lumbar Flexion"
Spine, 26:E-314-324


Chu, D., LeBlanc, R., D’Ambrosia, P., D’Ambrosia, R., Baratta, R.V. and Solomonow, M. (2003)
“Neuromuscular Disorder Associated with Anterior Cruciate Ligament Creep"
Clinical Biomechanics, 18:222 - 230


Solomonow, M., Hatipkarasulu, S., Zhou, B., Baratta, R.V. and Aghazadeh, F. (2003)
“Biomechanics and Electromyography of A Common Idiophatic Low Back Disorder”
Spine, 28:1235-1248


Solomonow, M., Baratta, R.V., Zhou, B., Burger, E., Zieske, A. and Gedalia, A. (2003)
“Muscular Dysfunction Elicited By Creep of Lumbar Viscoelastic Tissues"
J. EMG and Kinesiology, 13:381-396


Lu, D., Solomonow, M., Zhou, B., Baratta, R.V. and Li, L. (2004)
“Frequency Dependent Changes in Neuromuscular Response to Cyclic Lumbar Flexion”
J. Biomechanics. 37:845-855


Sbriccoli, P., Solomonow, M., Zhou, B., Baratta, R., Lu, Y., Zhu, M. and Burger, E. (2004)
"Static Load Magnitude is a Risk Factor in the Development of Cumulative Low Back Disorder"
Muscle & Nerve, 29:300-308


LaBry, R., Sbriccoli, P., Solomonow, M., Zhou, B., Baratta, R.V., Lu, Y and Zhu, M. (2004)
"Longer Static Flexion Duration Elicits a Neuromuscular Disorder in the Lumbar Spine"

J. Appl. Physiology, 96:2005-2015


Solomonow, M. (2004)
"Ligaments: A Source of Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorder"
J. EMG & Kinesiology, 14:49-60


Sbriccoli, P., Yousuf, K., Kopershtein, I., Solomonow, M., Zhou, B. and Zhu, M. and Lu, Y. (2004)
"Static Load Repetition is a Risk Factor in the Development of Lumbar Cumulative Musculoskeletal Disorder"
Spine, 29;2643-2653


Sbriccoli, P., Solomonow, M., Zhou, B., Lu, Y. and Sellards, R. (2005)
"Neuromuscular Response to Cyclic Loading of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament"
Am. J. Sports Medicine. 33;543-551


Navar, D., Zhou, BH., Lu, Y. & Solomonow, M. (2006)
"High-repetition cyclic loading is a risk factor for a lumbar disorder"
Muscle Nerve 34, 614-622


Olson, M., Solomonow, M., & Li, L. (2006)
"Flexion-relaxation response to gravity"
J Biomech 39, 2545-2554. Listed as 3 most downloaded papers. (Fall 2006 & Winter/Spring 2007)


Solomonow, M. (2006)
"Sensory-motor control of ligaments and associated neuromuscular disorders."
J Electromyogr Kinesiol 16, 549-567. Listed as 3 most downloaded papers (Winter/Spring 2007)


Li, L., Patel, N., Solomonow, D., Le, P., Hoops, H., Gerhardt, D., Johnson, K., Zhou, B., Lu, Y., & Solomonow, M. (2007)
"Neuromuscular Response to Cyclic Lumbar Twisting"

Human Factors 49, 820-829


Le, P., Solomonow, M., Zhou, BH., Lu, Y., & Patel, V. (2007)
"Cyclic load magnitude is a risk factor for a cumulative lower back disorder"
J Occup Environ. Med. 49, 375-387


Hoops, H., Zhou, BH., Lu, Y., Solomonow, M., & Patel, V. (2007)
"Short rest between cyclic flexion periods is a risk factor for a lumbar disorder"
Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) 22, 745-757


Lu, D, Le, P, Davidson, B, Zhou, B, Lu, Y, Patel, V, & Solomonow, M. 
“High Frequency Cyclic Flexion Is A Risk Factor For A Lumbar Disorder”
Muscle & Nerve, 38;867-874, 2008


Youssef, J., Davidson, B., Zhou, B, Lu, Y, Solomonow, M, & Patel, V.
“Neuromuscular Neutral Zones Response to Static Lumbar Flexion”
Clin. Biomechanics, 23;870-880, 2008


Solomonow, D., Davidson, B., Zhou, B., Lu, Y., Patel, V., and Solomonow, M.
“Neuromuscular Neutral Zones Response To Cyclic Lumbar Flexion”
J. Biomechanics, 41;2821-2828, 2008


Orizio, C, Solomonow, M, Diemont, B, & Gobbo, M.
“Muscle-Joint Unit Transfer  Function Derived from Torque & Surface Mechanomyogram in Humans Using Different Stimulation Protocol”
J Neuroscience Methods, 173; 59-66, 2008


Arabadzhiev, T, Solomonow, M, Zhou, B, Dimitrova, N, &Dimitrov, G.
“Power Spectra Characteristics Associated With Static Reflexive Activation Of The Multifidus Muscle In The Feline”
Europ J Applied Physiology, 104;873-883, 2008


Le, B, Davidson, B, Solomonow, D, Zhou, B, Lu, Y, Patel, V, & Solomonow, M.
“Neuromuscular Compensation of Lumbar Instability Following Static Work of Various Magnitudes”
Muscle & Nerve, 39:71-82, 2009


Solomonow, M.
“Ligaments; A Source of Musculoskeletal Disorders”
J Bodywork & Movement Therapies, 13:136-154, 2009

Olson, M, Li, L & Solomonow, M.
“Interaction of Viscoelastic Tissue Compliance with Lumbar Muscles During Passive Cycling Flexion-Extension”
J. EMG & Kinesiology, 19:30-38, 2009

Ben Masaud, A, Solomonow, D, Davidson, B, Zhou, B, Lu, Y, Patel, V, & Solomonow, M.
"Motor Control of Lumbar Instability Following Exposure to Various Cyclic Load Magnitudes"
European Spine Journal, 18:1022-1034, 2009


King, K, Davidson, B, Zhou, B, Lu, Y, Patel, V, & Solomonow, M.
"High Magnitude Cyclic load Triggers Inflammatory Response In Lumbar Ligaments"
Clin Biomechanics, 24:792-798, 2009

Solomonow, M.
“Ligamente als Entstehungsort berufsbedingter Stafrungen”
Osteopathische Medizin, 10:4-13, 2009

Solomonow, M.
"Challenging the Cumulative Injury Model"
The Spine Journal, 10:570-572, 2010

D'Ambrosia, P, King, K, Davidson, B, Zhou, B, Lu, Y, & Solomonow, M
"Increase Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines in Lumbar Ligaments Following Low & High Magnitudes Cyclic Loading"
European Spine Journal, 19:1330-1339, 2010

Pinski, S, King, K, Zhou, B, Lu, Y, Davidson, B, & Solomonow, M
"High Frequency Loading of Lumbar Ligaments Increases Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines Expression in a Feline Model of Repetitive Musculoskeletal Disorder"
The Spine Journal, 10:1078-1085, 2010

Solomonow, M
"Time Dependent Spine Stability; The wise old man & the six blind elephants"
Clinical Biomechanics (In Press)

Solomonow, M, Zhou, B, Lu, Y, & King, K
"Acute Cumulative Lumbar Disorder; Biomechanics, Tissue Biology, Motor Control & Stability"
Spine (In Press)