Applied Bionics and Biomechanics

Applied Bionics and Biomechanics / 2010 / Article

Open Access

Volume 7 |Article ID 302949 |

Gregory N. Kawchuk, Narasimha G. Prasad, Jonathan Glass, Carolyn Knight, Serena Third, Daniel Timmermans, "The Application of Parallel Robotics to Investigate the Effect of Lumbar Bracing on Trunk Muscle Activity", Applied Bionics and Biomechanics, vol. 7, Article ID 302949, 9 pages, 2010.

The Application of Parallel Robotics to Investigate the Effect of Lumbar Bracing on Trunk Muscle Activity

Received28 Jul 2010


Lumbar bracing is prescribed frequently for disability caused by low back pain; however, investigations into this practice demonstrate a range of patient outcomes. This inconsistency may arise from the practice of employing voluntary, single-axis trunk movements when investigating braces. Alternatively, this study employed a parallel robot to create a standardised, multi-axis testing environment. Surface electromyographic (sEMG) data were collected from the trunk of 24 asymptomatic participants, who were seated on the robot, tilted to 15°, then circumducted while attempting to maintain an upright posture. Multiple trials were performed for three randomised conditions: non-braced, soft-material brace and stiff-material brace. As expected, the sEMG activity was significantly reduced in the majority of muscle responses (201/240). Unexpectedly, a paradoxical increase in the sEMG activity was observed in 39/240 responses. While lumbar bracing reduces the sEMG activity on average, these data suggest the existence of an infrequent paradoxical response that may provide a possible explanation for the discordant results observed in previous bracing investigations.

Copyright © 2010 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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