Effects of vision and lumbar posture on trunk neuromuscular control

E. Maaswinkel, P. van Drunen, H.E.J. Veeger, J.H. van Dieen

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The goal of this study was to determine the effects of vision and lumbar posture on trunk neuromuscular control. Torso perturbations were applied with a pushing device while the subjects were restrained at the pelvis in a kneeling-seated position. Torso kinematics and the muscle activity of the lumbar part of the M. Longissimus were recorded for 14 healthy subjects. Four conditions were included: a flexion, extension and neutral lumbar posture with eyes closed and the neutral posture with eyes open. Frequency response functions of the admittance and reflexes showed that there was no significant difference between the eyes open and eyes closed conditions, thereby confirming that vision does not play a role in the stabilization of the trunk during small-amplitude trunk perturbations. In contrast, manipulating posture did lead to significant differences. In particular, the flexed condition led to a lower admittance and lower reflex contribution compared to the neutral condition. Furthermore, the muscle pre-activation (prior to the onset of the perturbation) was significantly lower in the flexed posture compared to neutral. This confirms that flexing the lumbar spine increases the passive tissue stiffness and decreases the contribution of reflex activity to trunk control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-303
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number48
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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