Low Back Pain Exacerbation Is Predictable Through Motif Identification in Center of Pressure Time Series Recorded During Dynamic Sitting

Ziheng Wang, Keizo Sato, Saida Salima Nawrin, Namareq Salah Widatalla, Yoshitaka Kimura, Ryoichi Nagatomi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Low back pain (LBP) is a common health problem — sitting on a chair for a prolonged time is considered a significant risk factor. Furthermore, the level of LBP may vary at different times of the day. However, the role of the time-sequence property of sitting behavior in relation to LBP has not been considered. During the dynamic sitting, small changes, such as slight or big sways, have been identified. Therefore, it is possible to identify the motif consisting of such changes, which may be associated with the incidence, exacerbation, or improvement of LBP. Method: Office chairs installed with pressure sensors were provided to a total of 22 office workers (age = 43.4 ± 8.3 years) in Japan. Pressure sensors data were collected during working days and hours (from morning to evening). The participants were asked to answer subjective levels of pain including LBP. Center of pressure (COP) was calculated from the load level, the changes in COP were analyzed by applying the Toeplitz inverse covariance-based clustering (TICC) analysis, COP changes were categorized into several states. Based on the states, common motifs were identified as a recurring sitting behavior pattern combination of different states by motif-aware state assignment (MASA). Finally, the identified motif was tested as a feature to infer the changing levels of LBP within a day. Changes in the levels of LBP from morning to evening were categorized as exacerbated, did not change, or improved based on the survey questions. Here, we present a novel approach based on social spider algorithm (SSA) and probabilistic neural network (PNN) for the prediction of LBP. The specificity and sensitivity of the LBP inference were compared among ten different models, including SSA-PNN. Result: There exists a common motif, consisting of stable sitting and slight sway. When LBP level improved toward the evening, the frequency of motif appearance was higher than when LBP was exacerbated (p < 0.05) or the level did not change. The performance of the SSA-PNN optimization was better than that of the other algorithms. Accuracy, precision, recall, and F1-score were 59.20, 72.46, 40.94, and 63.24%, respectively. Conclusion: A lower frequency of a common motif of the COP dynamic changes characterized by stable sitting and slight sway was found to be associated with the exacerbation of LBP in the evening. LBP exacerbation is predictable by AI-based analysis of COP changes during the sitting behavior of the office workers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number696077
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept 14


  • low back pain
  • motif-aware state assignment
  • probabilistic neural networks
  • sitting behavior
  • social spider algorithm


Dive into the research topics of 'Low Back Pain Exacerbation Is Predictable Through Motif Identification in Center of Pressure Time Series Recorded During Dynamic Sitting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this