The influence of external load configuration on trunk biomechanics and spinal loading during sudden loading

Sudden loading is a major risk factor for work-related lower back injuries among occupations involving manual material handling (MMH). The current study explored the effects of external weight configuration on trunk biomechanics and trunk rotational stiffness in the sagittal plane during sudden loading. Fifteen asymptomatic volunteers experienced sudden loadings using the same magnitude of weight (9 kg) with two different configurations (medially- or laterally-distributed) at three levels of height (low, middle and high). Results of this study showed that the medially distributed weight resulted in a significantly higher peak L5/S1 joint compression force (2861 N vs. 2694 N) and trunk rotational stiffness (2413 Nm/rad vs. 1785 Nm/rad) compared to the laterally distributed weight. It was concluded that when experiencing sudden loading, a more laterally distributed weight could increase the load's resistance to physical perturbations and alleviate spinal loading during sudden loading events.

Source: Madinei, S., Motabar, H. et Ning, X. (2018). Ergonomics.
https://doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2018.1489068

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