My research is focused on examining the mechanisms underlying chronic-recurrent low back pain, with the goal of primary and secondary prevention. Using information from a physical therapy examination, 3D movement analysis, and imaging technologies, I have been investigating posture and movement characteristics in both people with LBP and people without low back pain. I am particularly interested in measuring how people are positioned and move during functional activities, in their natural environment, using portable motion sensors and application-based technologies. My overall research goal is to better understand how factors, like posture and movement, contribute to different types of low back pain problems, to determine the most appropriate intervention. I am expanding on this research and aim to understand more about the multifactorial nature of LBP, including the interaction of tissue, posture and movement, pain-processing, and psychosocial factors in the chronicity and recurrence of low back pain.
Sara Gombatto, PT, PhD
The 1,000 ft2 Rehabilitation Biomechanics Laboratory (RBL) is located in Peterson Gym, Room 181. The laboratory includes a dedicated space for an integrated motion capture system with 16 high-resolution cameras (Qualisys, Inc), 5 integrated force platforms (AMTI), a 16-channel wireless EMG/IMU system (Delsys) with electro-goniometers (Biometrics), portable sensors for kinematic assessment outside the laboratory, and an 80” display monitor that can be integrated with the motion capture system or other devices for the purpose of providing visual feedback to the participant for rehabilitation purposes. The lab also is equipped with an overhead track and harness system (Solo-Step, Inc.) and treadmill for gait and balance research. Further, for the study of overground walking, the lab is equipped with an Ekso bionic suit (Ekso Bionics). The Ekso is a wearable robot that allows those with paralysis or weakness to stand and walk, with full weight bearing and reciprocal gait. The RBL has one of only 2 Ekso suits in the San Diego area, and the only one dedicated for gait rehabilitation research. The space also includes a clinical examination room with a treatment table and storage, a workbench for small equipment fabrication and repair, desk spaces for research assistants and graduate students, and a conference area for lab meetings.