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  • Author: Jeff A. Nessler x
  • Athletic Training, Therapy, and Rehabilitation x
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Jeff A. Nessler, Thomas Hastings, Kevin Greer and Sean C. Newcomer

Low back pain is a commonly reported problem among recreational surfers. Some individuals report that wearing a vest with an inflatable bladder that alters trunk angle may help to alleviate pain. The purpose of this study was to determine whether such a vest has an effect on muscle activation and extension of the lower back. Twelve recreational surfers completed 12 paddling trials at 1.1 m/s in a swim flume on both a shortboard and a longboard on 2 separate days. Three conditions of no vest, vest uninflated, and vest inflated were presented to participants in random order. Surface EMG and trunk angle were acquired via wireless sensors placed over the right erector spinae, mid-trapezius, upper trapezius, and latissimus dorsi. Wearing the inflated vest affected muscle activation: erector spinae and mid-trapezius demonstrated a significant decrease in activation relative to wearing no vest (12% and 18% respectively, p < .05). Trunk extension was also significantly reduced when the vest was inflated (18% reduction, p < .05). Results were similar for both the short and longboard, though this effect was greater while paddling the larger board. These results suggest that a properly inflated vest can alter trunk extension and muscle activity while paddling a surfboard in water.

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Jeff A. Nessler, Gerald Kephart, Jason Cowell and Charles J. De Leone

Studying spontaneous synchronization of stepping as two individuals walk on side-by-side treadmills may be useful for understanding the control of bipedal locomotion and may have implications for gait rehabilitation. Existing data suggest that this behavior is related to differences in leg length, walkway slope, and overground speed between partners, and might be promoted by altering these variables. This idea was evaluated here as 24 pairs of subjects stepped on side-by-side treadmills under several conditions of relative speed and slope. Overall, pairings that demonstrated very little spontaneous synchronization with the same treadmill speed and slope exhibited significant increases in this behavior when one treadmill was manipulated. Conversely, pairings that demonstrated a tendency to synchronize under normal conditions exhibited significant decreases in this behavior when either treadmill was altered.

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Jeff A. Nessler, Tomas Gonzales, Eric Rhoden, Matthew Steinbrick and Charles J. De Leone

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of interpersonal synchronization of stepping on stride interval dynamics during over-ground walking. Twenty-seven footswitch instrumented subjects walked under three conditions: independent (SOLO), alongside a partner (PAIRED), and side by side with intentional synchronization (FORCED). A subset of subjects also synchronized stepping to a metronome (MET). Stride time power spectral density and detrended fluctuation analysis revealed that the rate of autocorrelation decay in stride time was similar for both the SOLO and PAIRED conditions, but was significantly reduced during the FORCED and MET conditions (p=0.03 & 0.002). Stride time variability was also significantly increased for the FORCED and MET conditions (p<0.001). These data suggest that forced synchronization of stepping results in altered stride interval dynamics, likely through increased active control by the CNS. Passive side by side stepping, where synchronization is subconscious, does not appreciably alter stepping in this manner.