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Muscle fatigue and fatigue-related biomechanical changes during a cyclic lifting task

Bonato, Paolo and Ebenbichler, Gerold R. and Roy, Serge Henri and Lehr, Stephan and Posch, Martin and Kollmitzer, Josef and Della Croce, Ugo (2003) Muscle fatigue and fatigue-related biomechanical changes during a cyclic lifting task. Spine, Vol. 28 (16), p. 1810-1820. ISSN 0362-2436. eISSN 1528-1159. Article.

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DOI: 10.1097/01.BRS.0000087500.70575.45

Abstract

Study design: Electromyographic and biomechanical methods were utilized to investigate correlations between indexes of localized muscle fatigue and changes in the kinematics and kinetics of motion during a cyclic lifting task.
Summary of background data: Recent advances in time-frequency analysis procedures for electromyographicic signal processing provide a new way of studying localized muscle fatigue during dynamic contractions. These methods provide a means to investigate fatigue-related functional impairments in patients with low back pain.
Objectives: To study the relationship between localized muscle fatigue and the biomechanics of lifting and lowering a weighted box. Fatigue-related changes in the electromyographicic signal of trunk and limb muscles were evaluated and compared to kinematic and kinetic measures in order to determine whether lifting strategy is modified with fatigue.
Methods: A total of 14 healthy male subjects (26 +/- 5 years) cyclically lifted and lowered a 13 kg box (12 lifts/min) for 4.5 minutes. A 5-second static maximum lifting task was included immediately before and after the cyclic lifting task to measure changes in lifting strength and static electromyographicic fatigue indexes. Electromyographic signals from 14 muscle sites (including paravertebral and limb muscles) were measured. Changes in the electromyographicic Instantaneous Median Frequency, a fatigue index, were computed using time-frequency analysis methods. This index was compared with more standardized measures of fatigue, such as those based on electromyographicic median frequency acquired during a static trunk extension test, subjective fatigue measures, and maximal static lifting strength. Biomechanical measures were gathered using a motion analysis system to study kinematic and kinetic changes during the lifting task.
Results: During the cyclic lifting task, the electromyographic Instantaneous Median Frequency significantly decreased over time in the paravertebral muscles, but not in the limb muscles. Paravertebral electromyographicic Instantaneous Median Frequency changes were consistent with self-reports of fatigue as well as decreases in trunk extension strength. The magnitude of muscle-specific changes in electromyographicic Instantaneous Median Frequency was not significantly correlated with electromyographicic median frequency changes from the static trunk extension task. The load of the box relative to the maximal static lifting strength significantly affected the electromyographicic Instantaneous Median Frequency changes of paravertebral back muscles. Significant changes with fatigue during the task were found in the angular displacements at the knee, hip, trunk, and elbow. These biomechanical changes were associated with increased peak torque and forces at the L4-L5 vertebral segment.
Conclusions: Our results demonstrate correlation between localized muscle fatigue and biomechanical adaptations that occur during a cyclic lifting task. This new technique may provide researchers and clinicians with a means to investigate fatigue-related effects of repetitive work tasks or assessment procedures that might be useful in improving education, lifting ergonomy, and back school programs. Although both the dynamic and static tasks resulted in spectral shifts in the electromyographicic data, the fact that these methods led to different muscle-specific findings indicates that they should not be considered as equivalent assessment procedures.

Item Type:Article
ID Code:6951
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords:Surface electromyographicicy, dynamic muscle contraction, biomechanics of lifting, muscle impairment, low back pain
Subjects:Area 09 - Ingegneria industriale e dell'informazione > ING-INF/06 Bioingegneria elettronica e informatica
Divisions:001 Università di Sassari > 01 Dipartimenti > Scienze biomediche
Publisher:Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
ISSN:0362-2436
eISSN:1528-1159
Deposited On:12 Jan 2012 15:37

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