Title page for ETD etd-11192008-101310


Type of Document Dissertation
Author Slota, Gregory P
Author's Email Address gslota@vt.edu
URN etd-11192008-101310
Title Effects of Seated Whole-Body Vibration on Spinal Stability Control
Degree PhD
Department Biomedical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Granata, Kevin P. Committee Chair
Madigan, Michael L. Committee Co-Chair
Grant, John Wallace Committee Member
Lockhart, Thurmon E. Committee Member
Nussbaum, Maury A. Committee Member
Wilson, Sara E. Committee Member
Keywords
  • spine
  • vibration
  • stability
  • control
Date of Defense 2008-12-14
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Low back disorders and their prevention is of great importance for companies and their employees. Whole-body vibration is a risk factor for low back disorders, but the neuromuscular, biomechanical, and/or physiological mechanisms responsible for this increased risk are unclear. These studies investigated changes in the biomechanics and control of the trunk in order to further the understanding of the mechanisms responsible for this increased risk.

The purpose of the first study was to measure the acute effect of seated whole-body vibration on the postural control of the trunk during unstable seated balance. The findings show that whole-body vibration impaired the postural control of the trunk as evidenced by increased kinematic variance and non-linear stability control measures during unstable sitting. These findings imply an impairment in spinal stability control.

The purpose of the second study was to measure the effect of seated whole-body vibration on the parameters of spinal stability control: passive stiffness, active stiffness, and neuromuscular reflexes. The findings show that whole-body vibration altered trunk stiffness (passive stiffness and equivalent reflex stiffness) as well as reflex dynamics. There was no evidence of compensation by active muscle co-contraction recruitment for the decreased trunk stiffness and reflex gain.

The purpose of the third study was to measure the changes in the natural frequency characteristics of the trunk (which can be related to trunk stiffness and damping) during exposure to seated whole-body vibration. The findings show that whole-body vibration caused a decrease in natural frequency suggesting a decrease in the trunk stiffness, and also an increase in the peak amplitude of the frequency response functions suggesting a decrease in overall trunk damping. The rate of change of the natural frequency characteristics suggest that the majority of effects happen within the first 10 minutes of vibration exposure.

These findings reveal changes in the biomechanical properties of the trunk with exposure to seated whole body vibration, and a mechanism by which vibration may increase the risk of low back injury.

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