Field Study To Evaluate The Effectiveness Of A Continuous Passive Lumbar Motion System
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Field Study To Evaluate The Effectiveness Of A Continuous Passive Lumbar Motion System

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  • Description:
    Operating heavy construction equipment is often associated with elevated rates of low back discomfort (LBD). However, there have been few formal studies that dealt with evaluating controls that can reduce the LBD among these workers. The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of using a continuous passive lumbar motion system (CPLMS) in reducing low back discomfort among operators of heavy earthmoving equipment. The CPLMS is an additional seat support that has a lumbar support bladder and a pump to provide cyclic inflation and deflation. Two groups of operators were identified as potential subjects for this intervention study, the intervention group with a mean age of 41.2 years and experience of 9.7 years used the CPLMS, and the control group with a mean age of 37.5 years and experience of 7.6 years did not use the CPLMS. Body part discomfort surveys were collected from both groups. In addition, the intervention group completed a CPLMS preference survey. The body part discomfort survey was collected up to eight days at three different times of the day. Results from the body part discomfort survey showed a decreasing trend the longer the CPLMS was used, for both the upper and low back region. A decreasing trend for the low back was also found comparing morning to evening discomfort scores across the days when using the CPLMS. When compared to their regular seat, 54% of the operators felt very comfortable in using the CPLMS, 36% of them wanted one for their equipment, and 54% showed interest in experimenting with the CPLMS for a longer time period. Results from this study indicate that the use of a CPLMS can effectively reduce the low back discomfort experienced by operators of heavy construction equipment.
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