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A Comprehensive Evaluation of Trunk Response to Asymmetric Trunk Motion

MARRAS, W S, PhD; MIRKA, G A, M.S

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An experiment was performed to determine the reaction of the trunk muscles, using electromyography, and intra-abdominal pressure to components of trunk loading commonly seen in the workplace during manual materials handling. These components included angular trunk velocity, trunk position in three-dimensional space and trunk torque exertion level. The experiment was performed using 44 subjects. Subjects produced constant trunk extension torque about the lumbosacral junction while moving the trunk under constant angular velocity (isokinetic) conditions. Significant reactions to trunk angular velocity, trunk torque level, and unique combinations of trunk position and velocity were seen in all muscles of the trunk. The other components affected the muscles selectively according to function. Intra-abdominal pressure only reacted significantly to trunk angle and some unique trunk angle-asymmetry positions. The biomechanical implications of these findings are discussed. The reactions of the muscles to the various workplace components also were described quantitatively through equations that predict muscle activity levels.

From the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

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