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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2003 Mar 1;28(5):513-8.

Reposition sense of lumbar curvature with flexed and asymmetric lifting postures.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

Reposition sense of lumbar curvature was assessed as a function of trunk flexion, trunk asymmetry, and target lumbar curvature using a repeated-measures design and an active-active proprioception paradigm.

OBJECTIVE:

The objectives of the research were to measure the ability of the subjects to sense and control the lumbar curvature in different lifting postures and to see if error in the lumbar curvature would increase in high-risk postures.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:

The risk of low back disorders (LBDs) is related to trunk posture, with greater risk reported in flexed and asymmetric trunk positions. Spinal posture, including trunk position and lumbar lordosis, influences spinal stability. Hence, the ability to accurately sense and control spinal curvature may be an important factor in the control of LBD risk.

METHODS:

Eleven subjects were trained to assume specified lumbar curvatures using visual feedback. The ability of the subjects to reproduce this curvature without feedback was then assessed. This procedure was repeated for different trunk postures, including flexion and asymmetry, and with different target lumbar curvatures.

RESULTS:

These measurements demonstrated reposition error was increased in flexed trunk positions but was unchanged with trunk asymmetry. This increase in reposition error with flexion was diminished when the target posture and lumbar curvature were highly flexed and kyphotic.

CONCLUSIONS:

This research suggests that it may be difficult to control spinal curvature in flexed positions, leading to an increased risk of injury. For jobs in which flexed working postures are unavoidable, therefore, it is important to minimize potentially unstable events such as slipping or shifting loads to avoid injury.

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