Efficacy of neck stabilization exercises for neck pain: A randomized controlled study
From: J Rehabil Med. 2009 Jul;41(8):626-31
To determine the efficacy of neck stabilization exercises in the management of neck pain, sixty patients with neck pain were randomized to 3 groups, as follows: group 1 – physical therapy agents including transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, continuous ultrasound and infra-red irradiation; group 2 – physical therapy agents plus isometric and stretching exercises; and group 3 – physical therapy agents plus neck stabilization exercises. The neck exercises were performed as a home training programme following a 3 week supervised group exercise. The patients were evaluated with a visual analogue scale, by intake of paracetamol, Neck Disability Index, Beck Depression Scale and range of motion in the 3 planes at baseline and at months 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12
Compared with baseline, all neck pain groups showed a significant decrease in visual analogue scale scores during the first 6 months. However, this improvement was maintained only in group 3 (physical therapy agents plus neck stabilization exercises) at 9 and 12 months, with a significant difference among the groups. This study demonstrates the superiority of the neck stabilization exercises, with some advantages in the pain and disability outcomes, compared with isometric and stretching exercises in combination with physical therapy agents for the management of neck pain.
Car driving with and without a movable back support: Effect on transmission of vibration through the trunk and on its consequences for muscle activation and spinal shrinkage
From: Ergonomics. 2009 Jul;52(7):830-9
The aim of this study was to test the effect of a movable backrest on vibration transmission through the trunk during driving and on the physiological consequences thereof. Eleven healthy male subjects drove for about 1 h on normal roads with a movable and with a fixed backrest (back support) while surface electromyography (EMG) was measured at the level of the fifth lumbar vertebra (L5) and vertical accelerations were measured at the seat, backrest and at the spine at the levels of the second sacral vertebra (S2) and seventh cervical vertebra (C7). The movable backrest significantly reduced accelerations at C7 by up to 11.9% at the 5 Hz frequency band. The movable back support also significantly reduced the coherence and transmission between S2 and C7 accelerations, but not the differential motion between these sensors. EMG at both sides of L5 was on average 28% lower when using the movable backrest. Spinal shrinkage was unaffected by backrest type. It is concluded that a movable backrest reduces the transmission of vibration through the trunk and that it reduces low back EMG. Car driving is associated with the risk of developing low back pain and this may be related to exposure to whole body vibration. This study found an effect of a simple ergonomics measure on the transmission of vibration through the trunk as well as on back muscle activation.
Interestingly, according to Ind Health. 2005 Jul;43(3):421-35
The addition of a back support causes stiffening of the body to limit the low frequency rocking motion of the upper body under x-axis motion, while considerable dynamic interactions with the backrest occur. The mean apparent mass (APMS) responses measured at the seat pan and the backrest suggest strong contributions due to the back support condition, and the direction and magnitude of horizontal vibration, while the role of seat height is important only in the vicinity of the resonant frequencies. In the absence of a back support, the seat pan responses predominate at a lower frequency (near 0.7 Hz) under both directions of motion, while two secondary peaks in the magnitude also occur at relatively higher frequencies. The addition of back support causes the seat pan response to converge mostly to a single primary peak, resulting in a single-degree-of-freedom like behavior, with peak occurring in the 2.7-5.4 Hz range under x-axis, and 0.9-2.1 Hz range under y-axis motions, depending upon the excitation magnitude and the back support condition. This can be attributed to the stiffening of the body in the presence of the constraints imposed by the backrest. A relaxed posture with an inclined backrest, however, causes a softening effect, when compared to an erect posture with a vertical backrest. The backrest, however, serves as another source of vibration to the seated occupant, which tends to cause considerably higher magnitude responses. The considerable magnitudes of the apparent mass response measured at the seat back under fore-aft motions suggest strong interactions with the backrest. Such interactions along the side-to-side motions, however, are relatively small. The results suggest that the biodynamic characterization of seated occupants exposed to horizontal vibration requires appropriate considerations of the interactions with the backrest.