Biomechanical evaluation of a novel wheelchair backrest for elderly people

Chun Ting Li, Chih Hsien Chen, Yen Nien Chen, Chih-Han Chang, Kuen Horng Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Back pain is a common complication of wheelchair-bound elderly people. Seating system is a key factor that influences spinal curvature, back muscle activation, interface pressure, and comfortability. A seating system can maintain lumbar lordosis, lower back muscle activity, and decrease ischial tuberosities pressure, which reduces spinal load and directly influences sitting comfort. Our previous study has confirmed that backward thoracic support showed a relatively higher lumbar lordosis and lower back muscle activity. This study intends to evaluate the influence of backward thoracic support on interface pressure and subjective discomfort. Methods: In this study, 18 elderly men were recruited to participate in a random comparison involving 4 sitting postures. These postures comprised relaxed slouching, flat back support, prominent lumbar support, and backward thoracic support sitting. All parameters, including interface pressure (total contact area, average pressure, and peak pressure on backrest and seat) and subjective discomfort (upper-back, mid-back, lower-back, buttocks, and thighs) were measured and compared. Results: The results showed that compared with other sitting postures, backward thoracic support sitting significantly reduced average pressure and peak pressure on seat and increased average pressure and peak pressure on backrest. Concurrently, subjective discomfort in the upper-back, mid-back, lower-back, and buttocks were reduced. Conclusions: The results confirmed that backward thoracic support can maintain favorable wheelchair sitting posture, thereby preventing or reducing the risks of back pain. However, this study was no evaluations on shear forces on butts and neck postures. Future studies investigating shear forces on butts and neck postures are required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalBiomedical engineering online
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Feb 21

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Wheelchairs
Pressure
Posture
Back Muscles
Thorax
Muscle
Lordosis
Buttocks
Back Pain
Seats
Neck
Spinal Curvatures
Thigh
Chemical activation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

Cite this

Li, Chun Ting ; Chen, Chih Hsien ; Chen, Yen Nien ; Chang, Chih-Han ; Tsai, Kuen Horng. / Biomechanical evaluation of a novel wheelchair backrest for elderly people. In: Biomedical engineering online. 2015 ; Vol. 14, No. 1.
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Biomechanical evaluation of a novel wheelchair backrest for elderly people. / Li, Chun Ting; Chen, Chih Hsien; Chen, Yen Nien; Chang, Chih-Han; Tsai, Kuen Horng.

In: Biomedical engineering online, Vol. 14, No. 1, 14, 21.02.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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N2 - Background: Back pain is a common complication of wheelchair-bound elderly people. Seating system is a key factor that influences spinal curvature, back muscle activation, interface pressure, and comfortability. A seating system can maintain lumbar lordosis, lower back muscle activity, and decrease ischial tuberosities pressure, which reduces spinal load and directly influences sitting comfort. Our previous study has confirmed that backward thoracic support showed a relatively higher lumbar lordosis and lower back muscle activity. This study intends to evaluate the influence of backward thoracic support on interface pressure and subjective discomfort. Methods: In this study, 18 elderly men were recruited to participate in a random comparison involving 4 sitting postures. These postures comprised relaxed slouching, flat back support, prominent lumbar support, and backward thoracic support sitting. All parameters, including interface pressure (total contact area, average pressure, and peak pressure on backrest and seat) and subjective discomfort (upper-back, mid-back, lower-back, buttocks, and thighs) were measured and compared. Results: The results showed that compared with other sitting postures, backward thoracic support sitting significantly reduced average pressure and peak pressure on seat and increased average pressure and peak pressure on backrest. Concurrently, subjective discomfort in the upper-back, mid-back, lower-back, and buttocks were reduced. Conclusions: The results confirmed that backward thoracic support can maintain favorable wheelchair sitting posture, thereby preventing or reducing the risks of back pain. However, this study was no evaluations on shear forces on butts and neck postures. Future studies investigating shear forces on butts and neck postures are required.

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