HDsEMG activity of the lumbar erector spinae in violin players : comparison of two chairs

Russo, Alessandro and Aranceta-Garza, Alejandra and D'Emanuele, Samuel and Serafino, Francesca and Merletti, Roberto (2019) HDsEMG activity of the lumbar erector spinae in violin players : comparison of two chairs. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 34 (4). pp. 205-214. ISSN 1938-2766 (https://doi.org/10.21091/mppa.2019.4034)

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This study compared an ergonomic alternative chair (A-chair) with a standard orchestra chair (O-chair) used by a group of 9 violin players. The features of the high-density surface EMG (HDsEMG) of the lumbar erector spinae muscles were used for the comparison. The violinists played the same pieces of music for 2 hrs without interruption on each chair in 2 different days, 1 week apart. HDsEMG was recorded for 20 s every 5 minutes using two electrode arrays of 16 × 8 electrodes each, one on each side of the spine and placed between the T11 and L4 levels. The sEMG was non-stationary and burst-like patterns were observed on 8 out of 9 violinists. The mean root mean square (RMS) and mean spectral frequency (MNF) value over the region of activity (ROA), the centroid of the ROA, the rates of change in time of the spatial mean of the RMS and MNF values, and the burst frequencies associated with the two chairs were compared. Statistically significant reductions of RMS were observed in each violinist between the O-chair and A-chair (range 11.80 - 78.36%). No significant changes of other spatial or spectral sEMG features were globally observed versus time or between chairs but were demonstrated by some subjects. It is concluded that the A-chair is associated with a decrease of the sEMG amplitude of the ESM without changes of the spatial and temporal patterns of muscle activation.