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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Sep;110(2):415-23. doi: 10.1007/s00421-010-1515-6. Epub 2010 May 29.

Active biofeedback changes the spatial distribution of upper trapezius muscle activity during computer work.

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  • 1Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction (SMI), Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University, Aalborg East, Denmark.


The aim of this study was to investigate the spatio-temporal effects of advanced biofeedback by inducing active and passive pauses on the trapezius activity pattern using high-density surface electromyography (HD-EMG). Thirteen healthy male subjects performed computer work with superimposed feedback either eliciting passive (rest) or active (approximately 30% MVC) pauses based on fuzzy logic design and a control session with no feedback. HD-EMG signals of upper trapezius were recorded using a 5 x 13 multichannel electrode grid. From the HD-EMG recordings, two-dimensional maps of root mean square (RMS), relative rest time (RRT) and permuted sample entropy (PeSaEn) were obtained. The centre of gravity (CoG) and entropy of maps were used to quantify changes in the spatial distribution of muscle activity. PeSaEn as a measure of temporal heterogeneity for each channel, decreased over the whole map in response to active pause (P < 0.05) underlining a more homogenous activation pattern. Concomitantly, the CoG of RRT maps moved in caudal direction and the entropy of RMS maps as a measure of spatial heterogeneity over the whole recording grid, increased in response to active pause session compared with control session (no feedback) (P < 0.05). Active pause compared with control resulted in more heterogeneous coordination of trapezius compared with no feedback implying a more uneven spatial distribution of the biomechanical load. The study introduced new aspects in relation to the potential benefit of superimposed muscle contraction in relation to the spatial organization of muscle activity during computer work.

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