Effect of Chair Design on Feed-Forward Postural Control in Sitting

in Motor Control

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Swati Shenoy
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Alexander S. Aruin
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The objective of this study was to determine if a forward-tilted seat and the resultant semi-kneeling body position associated with sitting on the Balans Multi Chair (BMC) affect postural control in sitting. Nine healthy subjects were seated on either the BMC or a regular (REG) chair with their arms extended. They were instructed to induce self-initiated body perturbations in four different directions by exerting brief pulses of force against a stationary frame positioned in front of them. Electromyographic (EMG) activities of trunk and leg muscles were recorded before and during the perturbations. The results show that sitting on both types of chairs was associated with anticipatory activation of trunk and upper leg muscles. In contrast, anticipatory activation of distal muscles was observed while sitting only on the REG chair and was absent while sitting on the BMC. The outcome of the study suggests that although the forward-tilting seat and semi-kneeling body position might help in preserving a normal lordosis, it is not associated with anticipatory activation of lower leg muscles, which might reduce the ability of an individual to counteract self-initiated body perturbations. These findings stress the important role of chair designs in the control of sitting posture.

Shenoy is with Department of Physical Therapy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, and Aruin is with Departments of Physical Therapy and Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612.

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