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Development of an exercise program to prevent low back pain using an ergonomic approach

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Recent statistic data shows that low back pain accounts for the largest percent of industrial injuries occurred by manual material handling tasks and has an increasing trend around the world. The objective of this study is to develop a prevention method for low back pain using electromyography that resists the strain on the L5/S1 disc and measures the heart rate for the prevention of low back pain during lifting tasks. EMG signals and heart rate were analysed under the condition of a fixed vertical factor (20~80 cm), two horizontal factors (35 cm, 55 cm), two weight factors (10 kg, 25 kg), and two times per minute for each lifting task. Eight healthy male workers performed nine-step strengthening & stretching exercises that can increase back strength on the L5/S1 disc for six months. After completion of the two trials, the results were compared.

The results of this analysis show that EMG signals have more effect on the weight than the horizontal factors similar to those analysed in previous studies and are decreased. Therefore, those exercises were shown to be very efficient. Also, there are not statistically significant differences in the analysis results of heart rate between weight factors.

The intention of this study is to suggest exercise programs that help to prevent low back pain by strengthening and stretching the muscles and joints related to lifting tasks at the work place. Furthermore, this study could help many industries by saving compensation costs and workers by maintaining their health.

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Correspondence to Ji-Han Seo.



The figure below


depicts a nine-step strengthening and stretching exercise program.

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La, S., Yang, S. & Seo, J. Development of an exercise program to prevent low back pain using an ergonomic approach. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 24, 381–388 (2004).

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  • Horizontal Distance
  • Back Muscle
  • Support Body Weight
  • Lift Task
  • Internal Oblique