Effect of Perturbation Training on Risk of Low-Back Injury

Low back injury is a prevalent workplace hazard and is exaggerated during slip/fall accidents. The objective of the study was to investigate the effects of a novel perturbation training program in reducing the risk of low-back injury. Eighteen adults, randomly assigned into training group or control group, were involved in a laboratory study. An instrumented split-belt treadmill was used as the training platform. Walkway surface perturbations were created by multiple, randomized acceleration/deceleration pulses of the treadmill belt underneath the dominant foot. The training group and control group were exposed to 15min perturbation training and 15min normal treadmill walking, respectively. One accelerometer was attached to the low back region (i.e., L5/S1) of the subject. Peak resultant acceleration during perturbations were measured and statistically analyzed. The results indicated that the low back peak acceleration was significantly reduced after the training for the training group, but not for the control group. It was concluded that the new perturbation training program is capable to significantly reduce the risk of low back injury during reactive responses to walkway perturbations.