Effect of load carriage on spinal curvature

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Effect of load carriage on spinal curvature


Author: Hin, Kit-fong Cherry
Title: Effect of load carriage on spinal curvature
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2009
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations.
Spine -- Wounds and injuries.
Posture disorders.
Backpacking -- Physiological aspects.
Department: Dept. of Health Technology and Informatics
Pages: ix, 90 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2315396
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/5067
Abstract: The effects of load carriage on spine curvature have been studied for different weight magnitudes, carrying methods and load placements in previous studies. Knowledge of the changes of the effects over time during load carriage is still very limited. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to investigate the changes of spinal curvature in both relax and upright postures when carrying a loaded backpack over a period of time and after removal of the backpack. The changes of postural zone, defined as the movement range between the relax and upright postures, throughout the carrying time and after removal of the backpack were also examined.. A repeated-measures experimental design was adopted to investigate the change of spinal curvature in both relax and upright standing postures before, during and after carrying a backpack for a period of walking time. A standardized backpack of 10% of the subject's body weight with centre of gravity of the load placed at T12 level was carried over both shoulders of subjects in this experiment. An electronic goniometric system made of six accelerometers was used for measuring the curvature of cervical lordosis, thoracic kyphosis (total, upper and lower), lumbar lordosis (total, upper and lower), and sacral inclination. The curvature angles were recorded in the following time sequence: without the backpack; with the backpack; 20-minute treadmill walking with the backpack (measurement taken after every 5-minute walking); 20-minute treadmill walking after removal of the backpack (measurement taken after every 5-minute walking). With increasing loading time, significant increased cervical lordosis, increased thoracic kyphosis (total, upper and lower) and decreased lumbar lordosis (total and upper) were observed. The change of cervical lordosis and lumbar lordosis carried over after removal of the load whereas the increase in thoracic kyphosis carried over at the upper segment only. There was no significant change in postural zone except over the total lumbar lordosis during loading period. The result of this study revealed that prolonged carriage with 10% body weight could induce profound impact on spinal curvature. However, the changes in different spinal segments were not conclusive to recommend an optimal backpack carrying time limit. Further investigation on the changes of spinal curvature in relation to the postural muscles with different carrying weights over a period of time might give more information for determining the safety guideline in backpack carriage.

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