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Appl Ergon. 2002 Sep;33(5):471-6.

Increase in spinal stability obtained at levels of intra-abdominal pressure and back muscle activity realistic to work situations.

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Department of Physiology, National Institute of Occupational Health, Copenhagen, Denmark.


In this study, sudden load was applied to the trunk and situations with alternating low levels of intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) realistic to work situations were compared. The aim was to see if IAP and the small increases in co-contraction of back muscles that follow are capable of increasing the stiffness of the lumbar spine. Nine subjects participated in ten sudden load situations during which they were asked to hold a box and conduct a percentage of maximal IAP. The hip was fixed and the load was applied horizontally on the trunk. EMG, IAP, and movement of the trunk were measured. It was found that IAP of a size likely to appear in work situations, and the concomitant increase in muscle co-activation increased the spine stiffness. This increase in stiffness decreased the movement caused by the sudden load. These results show that both abdominal- and back muscles may have an important role in stabilising the spine, and in decreasing movements caused by sudden loads likely to appear in numerous work.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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