Lower back pain and Thermography: What Can It Contribute?

Lower back pain and Thermography: What Can It Contribute?

07/12/2023 Home

Collaboration for research on lower back pathologies between Francisco de Vitoria University, Adamo Robot, and ThermoHuman.

The synergy between academic research, precision engineering, and cutting-edge technology unites forces through the strategic collaboration between the spin-off of Francisco de Vitoria University, Adamo Robot, and the leading company in thermography applied to health and sports, ThermoHuman. This strategic alliance opens the door to a new era of applications in infrared thermography. The potential impact of this collaboration opens the door to research on back pathologies, as lower back pain. Hence, from the blog, we wanted to analyze an article on the impact of using thermography for detecting lumbar pain.

Skin temperature and pain tolerance in patients with chronic lower back pain.

Approximately 80% of adults will experience or have experienced an episode in their lives, and 50% suffer from it more than once, making this pathology the main ailment in adults (Shemshaki et al., 2013; Imamura et al., 2016a; Imamura et al., 2016b; Imamura et al., 2013).

To this end, Alfieri et al. 2019 aimed to verify and compare the association between lumbar surface temperature and pain tolerance thresholds under pressure in two groups: individuals with lumbar pain and healthy controls. The sample comprised 38 patients with lumbar pain (LP) and 19 healthy controls (HC). The groups were homogeneous in terms of age, sex, weight, and height.

Lower back pain and thermography

Regarding algometry, patients with lumbar pain showed significantly lower pain tolerance at all evaluated sites compared to participants in the control group (HC).

Thermography data revealed significantly higher temperatures in patients compared to controls at the three evaluated sites, corresponding to the L4-L5 regions and the right and left paravertebral regions. There were no differences in terms of asymmetry. Therefore, evaluating asymmetries may not be sufficient, and we need new ways to analyze thermographic images, such as normative gradients.

Conclusions from the study on lumbar pain and temperature:

People with lumbar pain have lower pain tolerance and higher surface temperatures in the lumbar region compared to healthy individuals. Although it is true that not all origins of lower back pain have a musculoskeletal basis, we should emphasize the nociceptive nature and pain education.

Other metrics are needed to analyze the lumbar region, but thermography is a rapid and non-invasive tool for monitoring lumbar pathology.


Alfieri FM, Lima ARS, Battistella LR, Silva NCOVE. Superficial temperature and pain tolerance in patients with chronic low back pain. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2019 Jul;23(3):583-587. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2019.05.001. Epub 2019 May 8. PMID: 31563374.

Shemshaki H. Nourian S.M. Fereidan-Esfahani M. Mokhtari M. Etemadifar M.R. What is the source of low back pain?. J. Craniovertebral Junction Spine. 2013; 4: 21-24

Imamura M. Alfieri F. M.Filippo T.R. Battistella L.R. Pressure pain thresholds in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain. J. Back Musculoskelet. Rehabil. 2016; 29: 327-336

Europa Thermohuman ThermoHuman has had the support of the Funds of the European Union and the Community of Madrid through the Operational Programme on Youth Employment. Likewise, ThermoHuman within the framework of the Export Initiation Program of ICEX NEXT, had the support of ICEX and the co-financing of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

CDTI Thermohuman has received funding from the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), in participation with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), for the R+D activities involved in creating a new tool, based on thermography, for the prediction and prevention of rheumatoid arthritis. See project detail.