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J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2013 Feb;23(1):206-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2012.08.016. Epub 2012 Sep 26.

Subject-specific, whole-body models of the stooped posture with a personal weight transfer device.

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Occupational Biomechanics Laboratory, Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, University of California - Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


A prior laboratory study found that when wearing a weight transfer device in the stooped posture, trunk flexions were reduced, and subjects who did not experience flexion-relaxation of the erector spinae had reduced back muscle activity. Whole-body musculoskeletal models, which included individual passive torso stiffness and anthropometry, were implemented to predict loads in the passive tissues of the back and the leg joints. Results predicted that when wearing the device in the stooped posture, compression and shear forces at the L5-S1 level were reduced by 13% and 12% respectively. Internal loads in the leg joints were reduced between 10% and 31%. Much of the reduction in joint loads may be a result of the device's ability to limit torso flexion during stoop, rather than a transferring of load. While these results show possible benefit in the short-term, further study is needed on the long-term effects to determine if the device is an effective intervention for those who use the stooped posture routinely.

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