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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2006 Sep 1;31(19):E707-12.

Effect of different upright sitting postures on spinal-pelvic curvature and trunk muscle activation in a pain-free population.

Author information

  • 1School of Physiotherapy, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia. P.OSullivan@curtin.edu.au

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

A normative within-subjects single-group study.

OBJECTIVE:

To compare spinal-pelvic curvature and trunk muscle activation in 2 upright sitting postures ("thoracic" and "lumbo-pelvic") and slump sitting in a pain-free population.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:

Clinical observations suggest that both upright and slump sitting postures can exacerbate low back pain. Little research has investigated the effects of different upright sitting postures on trunk muscle activation.

METHODS:

Spinal-pelvic curvature and surface electromyography of 6 trunk muscles were measured bilaterally in 2 upright (thoracic and lumbo-pelvic) sitting postures and slump sitting in 22 subjects.

RESULTS:

Thoracic, compared to lumbo-pelvic, upright sitting showed significantly greater thoracic extension (P < 0.001), with significantly less lumbar extension (P < 0.001) and anterior pelvic tilt (P = 0.03). Furthermore, there was significantly less superficial lumbar multifidus (P < 0.001) and internal oblique (P = 0.03) activity, with significantly higher thoracic erector spinae (P < 0.001) and external oblique (P = 0.04) activity in thoracic upright sitting. There was no significant difference in superficial lumbar multifidus activity between thoracic upright and slump sitting.

CONCLUSIONS:

Different upright sitting postures resulted in altered trunk muscle activation. Thoracic when compared to lumbo-pelvic upright sitting involved less coactivation of the local spinal muscles, with greater coactivation of the global muscles. These results highlight the importance of postural training specificity when the aim is to activate the lumbo-pelvic stabilizing muscles in subjects with back pain.

PMID:
16946644
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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