Cervical Spine Musculotendon Lengths When Reading a Tablet in Three Seated Positions

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 University of Arkansas
  • | 2 Washington State University
  • | 3 Wichita State University
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A popular posture for using wireless technology is reclined sitting, with the trunk rotated posteriorly to the hips. This position decreases the head’s gravitational moment; however, the head angle relative to the trunk is similar to that of upright sitting when using a tablet in the lap. This study compared cervical extensor musculotendon length changes from neutral among 3 common sitting postures and maximum neck flexion while using a tablet. Twenty-one participants had radiographs taken in neutral, full-flexion, and upright, semireclined, and reclined postures with a tablet in their lap. A biomechanical model was used to calculate subject-specific normalized musculotendon lengths for 27 cervical musculotendon segments. The lower cervical spine was more flexed during reclined sitting, but the skull was more flexed during upright sitting. Normalized musculotendon length increased in the reclined compared with an upright sitting position for the C4-C6/7 (deep) and C2-C6/7 (superficial) multifidi, semispinalis cervicis (C2-C7), and splenius capitis (Skull-C7). The suboccipital (R2 = .19–.71) and semispinalis capitis segment length changes were significantly correlated with the Skull-C1 angle (0.24–0.51). A semireclined reading position may be an ideal sitting posture to reduce the head’s gravitational moment arm without overstretching the assessed muscles.

Gallagher and Douglas are with the Exercise Science Research Center, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, USA. Vasavada is with The Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA; and the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA. Fischer is with the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, USA.

Gallagher (kmg014@uark.edu) is corresponding author.

Supplementary Materials

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    • Supplementary Table S1 (PDF 254 KB)
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