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Increased Ability to Perceive Relevant Sensory Information Minimizes Low Back Exposures in Lifting

Daniel P. Armstrong, Brian C. Horslen, and Steven L. Fischer

We have previously shown evidence that some individuals seem to consistently minimize low back loads when lifting, while others do not. However, it is unknown why. Individual differences in ability to perceive relevant sensory information may explain differences in minimization of low back loads during lifting, consistent with considering load reduction in one’s movement objective in an optimal feedback control theory framework. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether individuals’ ability to perceive proprioceptive information (both force- and posture-senses) at the low back was associated with peak low back loads when performing generic or occupation-specific lifts. Seventy-two participants were recruited to perform 10 barbell (generic) and backboard (occupation-specific) lifts, while whole-body kinematics and ground reaction forces were collected. Peak low back compression and anteroposterior shear forces normalized to body mass were calculated as dependent variables. Both posture matching ability and force matching ability at the heavier force targets were associated with lower means and variability of peak low-back loads in both lift types, albeit with small effect sizes (R 2 ≤ .17). These findings support the utility of an optimal feedback control theory framework to explore factors explaining interindividual differences in low back loads during lifting. Further, this evidence suggests improving proprioceptive ability may be a useful strategy in lift training programs designed for workplace injury prevention.

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Acute Effect of Brace Use on Upper-Extremity Functionality in Adolescent Individuals With Idiopathic Scoliosis: A Cross-Sectional Study

Kamil Yilmaz, Fatih Celik, and Bayram Sonmez Unuvar

It is well known that scoliosis adversely affects the functions of the upper extremities. However, the acute effect of rigid braces, which are widely used in the conservative treatment of scoliosis, on upper-extremity functionality remains unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the acute effect of a rigid thoracolumbosacral brace use on upper-extremity functionality in individuals with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). Thirty-eight individuals diagnosed with AIS participated in this cross-sectional study, with a mean age of 14.55 ± 1.90 years and a range of 10–18 years. The upper-extremity functionality was assessed using the Nine-Hole Peg Test and handgrip strength, with assessments conducted under both in-brace (with their own braces) and out-of-brace conditions. Nine-Hole Peg Test durations of the AIS patients for the nondominant side were significantly lower for in-brace conditions compared with out-of-brace conditions (p = .049, effect size = 0.136). The grip strength of the nondominant side was significantly higher for in-brace conditions compared with out-of-brace conditions (p = .025, effect size = 0.365). A weak negative correlation was found between the degree of curvature and the grip strength of the dominant side for in-brace conditions (r = −.323, p = .048). It was concluded that the brace had a positive effect on upper-extremity functionality on the nondominant side by both shortening the Nine-Hole Peg Test duration and increasing grip strength. In AIS patients, the brace may positively affect daily living by improving the functionality of the nondominant extremity.

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The Effect of an Overhead External Load Lifting and Lowering on Dynamic Postural Control in Subgroups of Low Back Pain

Majid Shahbazi, Javad Sarrafzadeh, Ismail Ebrahimi Takamjani, and Hossein Negahban

Background: Understanding postural control in low back pain (LBP) subgroups can help develop targeted interventions to improve postural control. The studies on this topic are limited. Therefore, the primary purpose of this study was to compare the postural control of LBP subgroups with healthy individuals during overhead load lifting and lowering. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, the participants were 52 with LBP and 20 healthy. The LBP patients were classified based on the O’Sullivan classification system into 21 flexion patterns and 31 active extension patterns. The participants lifted the box from their waists to their overheads and lowered it to their waists. Changes in postural control parameters were measured with a force plate system. Results: The results of the analysis of variance showed that during load lifting, the mediolateral phase plane (p = .044) and the mean total velocity (p = .029) had significant differences between flexion patterns and healthy. Also, the load-lowering results showed that active extension patterns, compared with healthy, had significant differences in the anteroposterior–mediolateral phase plane (p = .042). The patients showed less postural sway than the healthy. Conclusions: The results in this work highlight the importance of identifying the homogenous subgroups in LBP and support the classification of heterogeneous LBP. Different subgroups exhibit different postural control behaviors. These behaviors can be due to the loading of various tissues during different tasks.

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Motor Transfer and Proactive Interference in Cycling With a Noncircular Chainring

Thomas Haab, Peter Leinen, and Stefan Panzer

Athletes must transfer their performance when changing equipment due to innovative developments in sports technology. This kind of transfer has received only moderate attention. The aim of this study was to examine whether a mechanical change in sports equipment disturbs an athlete’s performance and affects biomechanical and neurophysiological parameters. Therefore, an experiment was conducted in which 36 participants in three groups pedaled at 70 rounds per minute on a cycling ergometer with a circular and a noncircular (NC) chainring. The dependent variables were the total variability of the cadence, torque effectiveness, and muscle cocontraction (electromyographic cocontraction) of four antagonistic acting muscle pairs. Data were recorded during an acquisition phase, a transfer phase, and a retention phase. The results revealed that practice on a circular chainring induces a positive transfer on the NC chainring for total variability without a proactive interference effect. Torque effectiveness did not change within or between groups during the acquisition, transfer, and retention phases. Torque effectiveness and electromyographic cocontraction were not affected when the chainrings were altered from Day 1 to Day 2. During the retention phase, electromyographic cocontraction was higher when using the NC chainring, but the difference was small in absolute terms. The results regarding transfer and proactive interference seem to be strongly dependent on the movement task and the change in sports equipment. Transfer from the circular to NC chainring indicates refined neuromuscular control and improved movement coordination.

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Volume 27 (2023): Issue 4 (Oct 2023)

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Balance Recovery Strategy in Children With and Without Hearing or Visual Impairments

Hamed Zarei, Ali Asghar Norasteh, Lauren J. Lieberman, and Ali Brian

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the balance recovery strategy in children with hearing (HI) and visual impairments (VI) compared with those without these disorders. Materials and Methods: This study featured a cross-sectional design with subjects (N = 45) placed within one of three equally stratified purposive groups (HI, VI, and comparison) within the age range of 9–13 years (mean = 11.43, SD = 1.5). Balance recovery strategy was measured in static and after-perturbation conditions by a four-camera Vicon system used to record three-dimensional lower body kinematic data. A repeated-measures analysis of variance (3 × 2, Group × Condition) was utilized to analyze data. Significance was set at p ≤ .05. Results: In the static condition, the results of the study showed that there was no significant difference between the groups in the ankle joint sway (p > .05). In hip joint sway, VI children had greater sway compared with comparison (p = .001) and HI children (p = .02). Also, HI children had greater sways than comparison (p = .02). In the after-perturbation condition, the results showed that VI children had greater sway in the hip and ankle joints than HI children (p = .001) and comparison (p = .001) to restore and maintain balance. Conclusion: It seems that comparison as well as higher proportion VI children use a hip strategy to maintain and restore balance. Also, it seems that HI children use a different strategy (ankle strategy) to maintain and restore balance compared with comparison and VI children.

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Use of Target Information for Preparing Initial Motor Command of Target Force Production Task

Koichi Hiraoka, Keita Hashimoto, and Takumi Fukuchi

The present study examined how humans use the target information provided immediately before the onset of motor output to prepare the initial motor command in the target force production task. Twenty healthy individuals participated in this study. A target cursor indicating the target force, and a force cursor indicating the force produced with index finger flexion were presented, and participants produced force in response to the appearance of the force cursor so that it moved toward the target cursor as fast as possible. The rate of force development in a time window of 0–100 ms after the onset of force development, representing the intensity of the initial motor command without online feedback adjustment, was measured. The present findings support the hypotheses that humans use the target information provided immediately before the onset of motor output to prepare the initial motor command, and they simultaneously prepare the initial motor command for the intermediate of multiple potential targets using the information of targets provided in previous trials. Another hypothesis, that humans use the information of the target or motor process of the trial immediately before the current trial to prepare the initial motor command, was not supported.

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Increased Risk of Falling in Older Adults When Coordinating Obstacle Avoidance and Grasping

Janine Carvalho Valentino Camargos, Gabriela Vigorito Magalhães, Letícia Munhoz Avellar, Anselmo Frizera, and Natalia Madalena Rinaldi

This study aimed to investigate the kinematic changes in obstacle avoidance and prehension tasks performed simultaneously by older adults with a history of falls at different levels of task difficulty. Twenty-six older adults were divided into faller and nonfaller groups. The experimental protocol was divided into two different tasks: walking with obstacle avoidance and walking with obstacle avoidance combined with a reach-to-grasp task. Two types of sensors (Kinect v2 and Leap Motion Controller, respectively) were used to analyze gait and grasp. Fallers presented kinematic changes associated with the grasping task during obstacle avoidance, such as a decrease in the velocity of the center of mass and the step length, an increase in the step width, a decrease in toe–obstacle horizontal distance, and an increase in vertical foot clearance distance, and an increase in movement time in the grasping task compared with nonfallers. To cope with the obstacle avoidance demands of both walking and grasping, fallers turned to a specific sequencing strategy. While slowing down, they attended first to the grasping task and then to crossing the obstacle on the floor.

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Rating of Perceived Exertion in the First Repetition is Related to the Total Repetitions Performed in Elastic Bands Training

Juan C. Colado, Javier Gené-Morales, Pablo Jiménez-Martínez, Jorge Flandez, Ana María Ferri-Caruana, and Carlos Babiloni-Lopez

Several devices (e.g., linear transducers) have been used for predicting resistance training intensity. However, subjective scales, such as rating of perceived exertion (RPE), are proposed as reliable and easier-to-use tools for monitoring intensity during resistance training. Accordingly, different perceptive scales have been presented in previous research for monitoring intensity during resistance training with elastic bands. The aim was to assess the accuracy and reliability of RPE for quantifying the potential maximal repetitions that could be performed at a given RPE (from 2 to 8 of 10) obtained in the first repetition. For this purpose, 13 recreationally active participants (age: 26.33 [6.52] years, body mass index: 24.97 [5.08] kg/m2) were involved in two familiarization and two experimental sessions. In each session, participants randomly performed one set at each intensity of the first repetition from 2/10 to 8/10 until volitional failure in three different exercises (fly, military press, and push–press). An individual grip width of the elastic band was chosen in each set. The number of repetitions and heart rate were assessed. Significance level was set at p < .05. Repetitions decreased when intensity increased (p < .01) and heart rate was higher in the global exercise (i.e., push–press; p < .05), but nonsignificant differences between intensities were reported. The level of experience influenced the number of repetitions performed (p < .05). Intersession reliability was set from good to excellent (range: 0.64–0.91). Therefore, the RPE of the first repetition is a relevant and reliable parameter related to the total number of repetitions performed for each RPE value in trained participants enrolled in elastic bands resistance training.

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Proprioceptive Acuity Assessment in Multiple Directions Across Multiple Joints in the Upper Limb

Kai-Qi Zhang, Yan-Xia Li, Na Lv, Qiang Ma, Shu-Jun Zhang, Xi Zhao, Kai Wang, Li Li, and Lin Li

Proprioception is essential for precise movement as it helps the body transmit important data about its surroundings to the central nervous system for maintaining body posture and position. This study aimed to investigate the effect of direction and joint angle on upper limb proprioception. Thirty individuals (all males) completed a position reproduction activity in 13 directions and three joint angles. It was discovered that upper limb proprioception is dependent on joint angle, direction, and range of motion. The position reproduction error was found to be dependent on the direction, which had a significantly lower accuracy in the direction with a larger range of motion. In addition, upper limb repositioning errors increased at greater limb elevation angles. Our findings also showed that the joint angle did not significantly affect the absolute error of elbow flexion. With an increase in the elbow flexion, the increase of the gravitational moment of the upper arm and hand coupled with the increase of the muscle arm of the biceps brachii possibly causes slight changes in muscle length perceived by spindles or muscular force perceived by Golgi tendon organs.