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Appl Ergon. 2013 Nov;44(6):1024-32. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2013.04.002. Epub 2013 Apr 30.

Effects of restrictive clothing on lumbar range of motion and trunk muscle activity in young adult worker manual material handling.

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Division of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand.


The objective of this study was to examine the effect of wearing restrictive trousers on lumbar spine movement, trunk muscle activity and low back discomfort (LBD) in simulations of manual material handling (MMH) tasks. Twenty-eight young adults participated in the study performing box lifting, liquid container handling while squatting, and forward reaching while sitting on a task chair when wearing tight pants (sizes too small for the wearer) vs. fit pants (correct size according to anthropometry). Each task was repeated three times and video recordings were used as a basis for measuring lumbar range of motion (LRoM). The response was normalized in terms on baseline hip mobility. Trunk muscle activity of rectus abdominis (RA) and erector spinae (ES) muscles were also measured in each trial and normalized. At the close of each trial, participants rated LBD using a visual analog scale. Results revealed significant effects of both pants and task types on the normalized LRoM, trunk muscle activity and subjective ratings of LBD. The LRoM was higher and trunk muscle (ES) activity was lower for participants when wearing tight pants, as compared to fit pants. Discomfort ratings were significantly higher for tight pants than fit. These results provide guidance for recommendations on work clothing fit in specific types of MMH activities in order to reduce the potential of low-back pain among younger workers in industrial companies.


Lumbar range of motion; Manual material handling; Trunk muscle activity

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