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Ergonomics. 2008 Jun;51(6):890-901. doi: 10.1080/00140130701852747.

Changes in neck muscle electromyography and forward head posture of children when carrying schoolbags.

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Department of Rehabilitation Therapy, The Graduate School, Yonsei University, Republic of Korea.


This study tested the effects of three alternative types of backpack on head posture and neck muscle electromyography (EMG) in children. Four loading conditions were tested: no pack; a backpack; a double pack; a modified double pack (designed with a backpack and a front pack weighing 10% and 5% of body weight, respectively). Dependent variables were neck muscle activity, forward head angle and forward head distance (the perpendicular distance from C7 to a vertical line through the tragus of the ear). Fifteen children were asked to walk at a speed of 0.8 m/s on a treadmill. The EMG activity of upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid and midcervical paraspinals muscles and the forward head angle and forward head distance were all significantly higher when carrying a backpack than for the other conditions. When carrying a double pack, there was a backward head posture characterised by an increased negative forward head angle, decreased forward head distance, increased sternocleidomastoid EMG signal and decreased midcervical paraspinals EMG signal, compared to carrying no pack. When carrying a modified double pack, the forward head angle and forward head distance decreased when compared to carrying a backpack. These findings indicate that the modified double pack minimises postural deviation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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