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Format:
Print
Author:
Burns, Dylan
Dept./Program:
Mechanical Engineering
Year:
2011
Degree:
PhD
Abstract:
The focus of this research was to look at the relationship between; seated posture, specifically lower back curvature or lordosis, bio feedback control, and lower back pain. There were three main goals of this study; to develop a device to measure and record the curvature ofthe lower back, determine if bio-feedback control can be used to control seated posture, and to determine if biofeedback seated posture control can affect low back pain. In this study a lordosimeter device and neoprene belt apparatus measure posture and control it with feedback. Subjects wear the device for a total of 6 weeks. The subjects set their "straight" and "slump" levels on the device, and these threshold levels, along with the lordosimeter readings throughout the day, determine and monitor the subjects' posture and provide feedback if the subject nears their "slump" level. The subjects are prompted every hour to reset these levels.
The devices also have a tilt sensor that determines whether the subject is seated or standing, as we are only concerned with the seated data for this study. The first week of the study is a time for the subjects to get used to the belt, the device, and how everything works and what is expected of them. During the second and third weeks the feedback on the device is turned off completely and only records the subject's posture throughout the day. During the fourth and fifth weeks, the feedback is turned on. Anytime the subject's slumps below their preset "slump" level the device will buzz until they return to a "straight" posture level. On the sixth and final week of the study the feedback is turn off again and the device simply records the subject's posture. A certain percentage of slouching is observed and recorded in any given hour of data during weeks 2 and 3, with no feedback. A hypothesis is to see a substantial decrease in the percentage of slouching during weeks 4 and 5, with feedback turned on. Then by week 6 the amount of slouching per hour should be less than during weeks 2 and 3 with no feedback.
Statistical results for the relationship between posture and bio-feedback showed that the subjects exhibited a large drop in percent slump during weeks 4 and 5 "feedback weeks" as compared to weeks 2 and 3 "non-feedback weeks" and a slight increase again in week 6. This was not observed for the in the Control group, who did not have the feedback turned on at all during the entire 6 week study. Statistical results for the relationship between lower back pain and posture showed that during non-feedback weeks (2-3) and the feedback weeks (4-5) the subjects exhibited a decrease ofapproximately 2.5%. Whereas the control group, with feedback turned off, exhibited an increase during those same periods, of about 9.9%.