Trapezius muscle motor unit activity in symptomatic participants during finger tapping using properly and improperly adjusted desks

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From: Human Factors(Vol. 46, Issue 2)
Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc.
Document Type: Article
Length: 6,532 words

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Abstract :

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the neck-shoulder area and upper extremities are common among computer users, especially women. We compared temporal changes of motor unit (MU) activation in the trapezius muscle during finger tapping using both appropriate and inappropriate ergonomic desk adjustments. Sixteen intensive and nonintensive computer users with either moderate or severe musculoskeletal disorders participated in the study. Six-channel intramuscular electromyographic (EMG) signals and 2-channel surface EMG were recorded from 2 positions of the trapezius muscle. A statistically significant increase in activity as observed with a desk adjusted 5 cm higher than appropriate and was attributable mainly to increased duration of MU activity. Participants with severe symptoms activated more MUs, and these were also active longer. In women, on average, MUs were active nearly twice as long as in men during the same tapping task. This study demonstrates that it is possible to evaluate ergonomic topics on the MU level and that incorrectly adjusted office equipment, in addition to motor demands imposed by the work task, results in prolonged activity of MUs. A potential application of this research is an increased awareness that certain individuals who work with incorrectly adjusted office equipment may be at greater risk of developing work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A128973978