Trunk muscle coactivation in people with and without low back pain during fatiguing frequency-dependent lifting activities

Tiwana Varrecchia, Silvia Conforto, Alessandro Marco De Nunzio, Francesco Draicchio, Deborah Falla, Alberto Ranavolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Lifting tasks are manual material-handling activities and are commonly associated with work-related low back disorders. Instrument-based assessment tools are used to quantitatively assess the biomechanical risk associated with lifting activities. This study aims at highlighting different motor strategies in people with and without low back pain (LBP) during fatiguing frequency-dependent lifting tasks by using parameters of muscle coactivation. A total of 15 healthy controls (HC) and eight people with LBP performed three lifting tasks with a progressively increasing lifting index (LI), each lasting 15 min. Bilaterally erector spinae longissimus (ESL) activity and rectus abdominis superior (RAS) were recorded using bipolar surface electromyography systems (sEMG), and the time-varying multi-muscle coactivation function (TMCf) was computed. The TMCf can significantly discriminate each pair of LI and it is higher in LBP than HC. Collectively, our findings suggest that it is possible to identify different motor strategies between people with and without LBP. The main finding shows that LBP, to counteract pain, coactivates the trunk muscles more than HC, thereby adopting a strategy that is stiffer and more fatiguing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1417
JournalSensors
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The research presented in this article was carried out as part of the program BRIC 2016-ID10 funded by INAIL and as part of the SOPHIA project, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 871237.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Fatiguing frequency-dependent lifting
  • Low back pain
  • SEMG
  • Trunk muscle coactivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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