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Reliability of different thresholds for defining muscular rest of the trapezius muscles in computer office workers

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This study aimed at documenting the reliability of different thresholds used for defining the muscular rest of the trapezius muscles of 27 computer office workers, using surface electromyography (EMG) signals collected in the field. Measurement strategies for increasing the reliability of the results were also explored. Ten different thresholds to define muscular rest were compared: 1) five normalised (individualised) thresholds; 2) three absolute thresholds (in μV); 3) two absolute but individualised thresholds. The reliability was assessed using both a 15-min standardised computer task and 45 min of regular computer work. The main findings were: 1) overall, in a repeated measures study design, muscular rest variables were more reliable with the use of absolute thresholds when compared to normalised and individualised thresholds; 2) excellent reliability (index of dependability >0.75) can be reached when averaging the scores over 2 days; 3) using a standardised task instead of regular work does not necessarily lead to more reliable results.
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Keywords: computer work; muscle activity; muscular rest; reliability; trapezius muscle

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institut de Recherche Robert-Sauve en Sante et en Securite du Travail, Montreal, QC, Canada

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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