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Position sense acuity is diminished following repetitive low-intensity work to fatigue in a simulated occupational setting.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Sports Medicine.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7543-4397
2000 (English)In: European Journal of Applied Physiology, ISSN 1439-6319, E-ISSN 1439-6327, Vol. 81, no 5, 361-367 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Repetitive work to fatigue is soundly associated with work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD), although the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that fatiguing work leads to proprioceptive deficits, which can be an initiating factor for the occurrence of WMSD. Thus, the position sense of the shoulder was determined for 13 males and 13 females before and after performing repetitive low-intensity arm work to fatigue in a simulated occupational setting. From a starting position of 45° to the sagittal plane, position sense tests consisted of subjects attempting to actively reproduce target positions of horizontal movements to 15° and 30° (shoulder adduction) and to 60° and 75° (shoulder abduction). An analysis of variance revealed that the absolute error was significantly increased following fatigue for the subjects as a group (P < 0.001). Furthermore, females had an overall higher error than males (P < 0.01). No difference in error was detected for the shorter movements versus the longer movements. However, the overall absolute error for adduction was significantly higher than for abduction (P < 0.001). The results of the present study support the hypothesis of diminished proprioceptive acuity following low-intensity work to fatigue. A reduction in position sense acuity could lead to impairment in motor control, which would further impact on position sense. Thus, a vicious cycle may be activated that might result in WMSD. The poorer position sense acuity observed for females may contribute to the explanation of why females demonstrate a higher incidence of WMSD than males.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2000. Vol. 81, no 5, 361-367 p.
Keyword [en]
Fatigue, Glenohumeral joint, Human, Occupational musculoskeletal problems, Proprioception
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3784DOI: 10.1007/s004210050055PubMedID: 10751096OAI: diva2:142656
Appendix to the paper: Letter to the editor. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2003, 88:485-486. Available from: 2004-03-12 Created: 2004-03-12 Last updated: 2015-01-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Effects of repetitive work on proprioception and of stretching on sensory mechanisms: implications for work-related neuromuscular disorders
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of repetitive work on proprioception and of stretching on sensory mechanisms: implications for work-related neuromuscular disorders
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aims of the thesis were (i) to investigate the impact of repetitive low-intensity work exposure on proprioception and (ii) to examine effects of muscle stretching (especially sensory effects and effects on muscle nociception) and to relate its application to the prevention, alleviation and/or treatment of work-related neuromuscular disorders.

The effects of low-intensity repetitive work on the shoulder proprioception were tested in healthy subjects. The effect of working time on the retention of subjective fatigue and their relation to changes in proprioception, and the immediate effect of stretching on shoulder proprioception were investigated. A new method to test the stretchability of the rectus femoris muscle was investigated for reliability and validity and used to assess the effects of a two-week stretching regimen on range of motion and on subjective stretch sensation. Finally, the interactions between innocuous muscle stretch and nociceptive chemical stimulation on discharge behavior of nociceptive dorsal horn neurons in the feline spinal cord were explored.

The main findings were as follows: 1) The repetitive low-intensity work to fatigue diminished the shoulder proprioception; the working time as well as the retention of subjective fatigue were partly related to the extent of changed proprioception. 2) There was no effect of acute muscle stretching on the proprioception. 3) The new method for testing muscle stretchability proved valid and reliable. A two-week stretching regimen increased the tolerance to stretch torque, but the range of motion remained unchanged. 4) Half of the nociceptive dorsal horn neurons that responded to close arterial injections of bradykinin were modulated by muscle stretching applied directly after the injections.

Altogether, the results give credence to the hypothesis of an involvement of sensory information distortion due to repetitive low-intensity work exposure in the development of work-related neuromuscular disorders. Increased tolerance to stretch torque may be an important mechanism in explaining improvements following stretch treatment. The spinal interactions between innocuous stretch and nociceptive muscle afferent inputs indicate a possible mechanism involved in stretching-induced pain alleviation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Kirurgisk och perioperativ vetenskap, 2004. 87 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 877
Medicine, Repetitive motions, Muscle fatigue, Proprioception, Muscle stretching, Work-related musculoskeletal disorders, Nociception, Ergonomics, Medicin
National Category
Dermatology and Venereal Diseases
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-211 (URN)91-7305-604-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2004-03-19, Stora föreläsningssalen, Arbetslivsinstitutet, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2004-03-12 Created: 2004-03-12 Last updated: 2015-01-20Bibliographically approved

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