Van Dillen Lab


Musculoskeletal pain conditions are among the most disabling and costly conditions experienced by Americans and are the leading cause of physical disability in the U.S. The overall goal of the work in the Van Dillen laboratory is to understand how the musculoskeletal and nervous systems interact to contribute to the development and, as importantly, the course of musculoskeletal pain conditions across the lifespan. Our major funded studies have focused on low back pain (LBP) conditions and coexisting LBP and hip conditions. We have found that people with LBP can be classified into homogeneous subgroups based on posture and movement, the specific postures and movements a person with LBP adopts are related to his LBP symptoms, functional limitations, and the repetitive activities a person uses across his day. We also have found that intra-articular and extra-articular hip impairments are prevalent in people with LBP and contribute to a person’s LBP complaints. To conduct our studies we use laboratory instrumentation (motion capture, electromyography, force transducers, passive movement system, dynamometry), a comprehensive battery of self-report measures (pain, functional limitations, activity level, psychosocial behavior and overall health), and, most recently imaging (upright MRI unit). Our studies span the areas of diagnosis and prognosis, prevention, and rehabilitation and maintenance of the health of the musculoskeletal system.  Funding sources include the NIH, Foundation for Physical Therapy, Missouri Physical Therapy Association, Washington University Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences and the Foundation for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

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