Postural reconfiguration and cycle-to-cycle variability in patients with work-related musculoskeletal disorders compared to healthy controls and in relation to pain emerging during a repetitive movement task
Number of pages
SourceClinical Biomechanics, 54, (2018), pp. 103-110
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC CO
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 2: Perception, Action and Control
Background: Movement variability in sustained repetitive tasks is an important factor in the context of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. While a popular hypothesis suggests that movement variability can prevent overuse injuries, pain evolving during task execution may also cause variability. The aim of the current study was to investigate, first, differences in movement behavior between volunteers with and without work-related pain and, second, the influence of emerging pain on movement variability. Methods: Upper-body 3D kinematics were collected as 22 subjects with musculoskeletal disorders and 19 healthy volunteers performed a bimanual repetitive tapping task with a self-chosen and a given rhythm. Three subgroups were formed within the patient group according to the level of pain the participants experienced during the task. Principal component analysis was applied to 30 joint angle coordinates to characterize in a combined analysis the movement variability associated with reconfigurations of the volunteers' postures and the cycle-to-cycle variability that occurred during the execution of the task. Findings: Patients with no task-related pain showed lower cycle-to-cycle variability compared to healthy controls. Findings also indicated an increase in movement variability as pain emerged, manifesting both as frequent postural changes and large cycle-to-cycle variability. Interpretation: The findings suggested a relationship between work-related musculoskeletal disorders and movement variability but further investigation is needed on this issue. Additionally, the findings provided clear evidence that pain increased motor variability. Postural reconfigurations and cycle-to-cycle variability should be considered jointly when investigating movement variability and musculoskeletal disorders.
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