Søgaard, Karen4; Olsen, Henrik B4; Blangsted, Anne K3; Sjøgaard, Gisela4
1 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, Det Sundhedsvidenskabelige Fakultet, SDU2 Physical Activity and Health in Work Life, Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, Det Sundhedsvidenskabelige Fakultet, SDU3 Outcome Europe, St-Prex Switzerland.4 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, Det Sundhedsvidenskabelige Fakultet, SDU
BACKGROUND: Computer work is associated with low level sustained activity in the trapezius muscle that may cause development of trapezius myalgia. Such a low level activity may be attention related or alternatively, be part of a general multi joint motor program providing stabilization of the shoulder joint as a biomechanical prerequisite for precise finger manipulation. This study examines single motor unit (MU) firing pattern in the right trapezius muscle during fast movements of ipsilateral or contralateral index finger. A modulation of the MU firing rate would support the existence of a general multi joint motor program, while a generally increased and continuous firing rate would support the attention related muscle activation. METHOD: Twelve healthy female subjects were seated at a computer work place with elbows and forearms supported. Ten double clicks (DC) were performed with right and left index finger on a computer mouse instrumented with a trigger. Surface electromyographic signals (EMG) was recorded from right and left trapezius muscle. Intramuscular EMG was recorded with a quadripolar wire electrode inserted into the right trapezius. Surface EMG was analyzed as RMS and presented as %MVE. The intramuscular EMG signals were decomposed into individual MU action potential trains using a computer algorithm based on signal shape recognition and manual editing. Instantaneous firing rate (IFR) was calculated as the inverse of each inter-spike interval (ISI). All ISI shorter than 20 ms were defined as doublets. For all MU IFR was spike triggered averaged across the 10 DC to show the modulation during DC as well as for calculation of the cross correlation coefficient (CCC). RESULTS: All subjects showed surface EMG activity in both right and left trapezius ranging from 1.8 %MVE to 2.5 %MVE. Regarding intramuscular EMG during right hand DC a total of 32 MUs were identified. Four subjects showed no MU activity. Four showed MU activity with low mean firing rate (MFR) with weak or no variations related to the timing of DC. Four subjects showed firing patterns with large modulation in IFR with a clear temporal relation to the DC. During left hand DC 15 MUs were identified in four subjects, for two of the subjects with IFR modulations clearly related to DC. During both ipsi- and contralateral DC, doublets occurred sporadically as well as related to DC Conclusion: In conclusion, DC with ipsi- and contralateral fast movements of the index finger was found to evoke biomechanically as well as attention related activity pattern in the trapezius muscle. Doublets were for three of the subjects found as an integrated part of MU activation in the trapezius muscle and for one subject temporarily related to DC.