PLoS One. 2022 Aug 10;17(8):e0266731. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0266731. eCollection 2022.
Lifting tasks, among manual material handling activities, are those mainly associated with low back pain. In recent years, several instrumental-based tools were developed to quantitatively assess the biomechanical risk during lifting activities. In this study, parameters related to balance and extracted from the Centre of Pressure (CoP) data series are studied in fatiguing frequency-dependent lifting activities to: i) explore the possibility of classifying people with LBP and asymptomatic people during the execution of task; ii) examine the assessment of the risk levels associated with repetitive lifting activities, iii) enhance current understanding of postural control strategies during lifting tasks. Data were recorded from 14 asymptomatic participants and 7 participants with low back pain. The participants performed lifting tasks in three different lifting conditions (with increasing lifting frequency and risk levels) and kinetic and surface electromyography (sEMG) data were acquired. Kinetic data were used to calculated the CoP and parameters extracted from the latter show a discriminant capacity for the groups and the risk levels. Furthermore, sEMG parameters show a trend compatible with myoelectric manifestations of muscular fatigue. Correlation results between sEMG and CoP velocity parameters revealed a positive correlation between amplitude sEMG parameters and CoP velocity in both groups and a negative correlation between frequency sEMG parameters and CoP velocity. The current findings suggest that it is possible to quantitatively assess the risk level when monitoring fatiguing lifting tasks by using CoP parameters as well as identify different motor strategies between people with and without LBP.
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