Sigal Portnoy


3 The Correlation between Musculoskeletal Disorders and Body Postures during Playing among Guitarists

Authors: Sigal Portnoy, Navah Z. Ratzon, Shlomit Cohen


This work focuses on posture and risk factors for the musculoskeletal disorder in guitarists, which constitutes the largest group of musicians today. The source of the problems experienced by these musicians is linked to physical, psychosocial and personal risk factors. These muscular problems are referred to as Playing Related Musculoskeletal Disorder (PRMD). There is not enough research that specifically studies guitar players, and to the extent of our knowledge, there is almost no reference to the characteristics of their movement patterns while they play. This is in spite of the high prevalence of PRMD in this population. Kinematic research may provide a basis for the development of a prevention plan for this population and their unique characteristics of playing patterns. The aim of the study was to investigate the correlation between risk factors for PRMD among guitar players and self-reporting of pain in the skeletal muscles, and specifically to test whether there are differences in the kinematics of the upper body while playing in a sitting or standing posture. Twenty-five guitarists, aged 18-35, participated in the study. The methods included a motion analysis using a motion capture system, anthropometric measurements and questionnaires relating to risk factors. The questionnaires used were the Standardized Nordic Questionnaire for the Analysis of Musculoskeletal Symptoms and the Demand Control Support Questionnaire, as well as a questionnaire of personal details. All of the study participants complained of musculoskeletal pain in the past year; the most frequent complaints being in the left wrist. Statistically significant correlations were found between biodemographic indices and reports of pain in the past year and the previous week. No significant correlations were found between the physical posture while playing and reports of pain among professional guitarists. However, a difference was found in several kinematic parameters between seated and standing playing postures. In a majority of the joints, the joint angles while playing in a seated position were more extreme than those during standing. This finding may suggest a higher risk for musculoskeletal disorder while playing in a seated position. In conclusion, the results of the present research highlight the prevalence of musculoskeletal problems in guitar players and its correlation with various risk factors. The finding supports the need for intervention in the form of prevention through identifying the risk factors and addressing them. Relating to the person, to their occupation and environment, which are the basis of proper occupational therapy, can help meet this need.

Keywords: motion tracking, body posture, PRMD, guitarists

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2 The Effects of Adding Vibrotactile Feedback to Upper Limb Performance during Dual-Tasking and Response to Misleading Visual Feedback

Authors: Sigal Portnoy, Jason Friedman, Eitan Raveh


Introduction: Sensory substitution is possible due to the capacity of our brain to adapt to information transmitted by a synthetic receptor via an alternative sensory system. Practical sensory substitution systems are being developed in order to increase the functionality of individuals with sensory loss, e.g. amputees. For upper limb prosthetic-users the loss of tactile feedback compels them to allocate visual attention to their prosthesis. The effect of adding vibrotactile feedback (VTF) to the applied force has been studied, however its effect on the allocation if visual attention during dual-tasking and the response during misleading visual feedback have not been studied. We hypothesized that VTF will improve the performance and reduce visual attention during dual-task assignments in healthy individuals using a robotic hand and improve the performance in a standardized functional test, despite the presence of misleading visual feedback. Methods: For the dual-task paradigm, twenty healthy subjects were instructed to toggle two keyboard arrow keys with the left hand to retain a moving virtual car on a road on a screen. During the game, instructions for various activities, e.g. mix the sugar in the glass with a spoon, appeared on the screen. The subject performed these tasks with a robotic hand, attached to the right hand. The robotic hand was controlled by the activity of the flexors and extensors of the right wrist, recorded using surface EMG electrodes. Pressure sensors were attached at the tips of the robotic hand and induced VTF using vibrotactile actuators attached to the right arm of the subject. An eye-tracking system tracked to visual attention of the subject during the trials. The trials were repeated twice, with and without the VTF. Additionally, the subjects performed the modified box and blocks, hidden from eyesight, in a motion laboratory. A virtual presentation of a misleading visual feedback was be presented on a screen so that twice during the trial, the virtual block fell while the physical block was still held by the subject. Results: This is an ongoing study, which current results are detailed below. We are continuing these trials with transradial myoelectric prosthesis-users. In the healthy group, the VTF did not reduce the visual attention or improve performance during dual-tasking for the tasks that were typed transfer-to-target, e.g. place the eraser on the shelf. An improvement was observed for other tasks. For example, the average±standard deviation of time to complete the sugar-mixing task was 13.7±17.2s and 19.3±9.1s with and without the VTF, respectively. Also, the number of gaze shifts from the screen to the hand during this task were 15.5±23.7 and 20.0±11.6, with and without the VTF, respectively. The response of the subjects to the misleading visual feedback did not differ between the two conditions, i.e. with and without VTF. Conclusions: Our interim results suggest that the performance of certain activities of daily living may be improved by VTF. The substitution of visual sensory input by tactile feedback might require a long training period so that brain plasticity can occur and allow adaptation to the new condition.

Keywords: Prosthetics, Rehabilitation, Sensory substitution, upper limb amputation

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1 Multi-Plane Wrist Movement: Pathomechanics and Design of a 3D-Printed Splint

Authors: Sigal Portnoy, Yael Kaufman-Cohen, Yafa Levanon


Introduction: Rehabilitation following wrist fractures often includes exercising flexion-extension movements with a dynamic splint. However, during daily activities, we combine most of our wrist movements with radial and ulnar deviations. Also, the multi-plane wrist motion, named the ‘dart throw motion’ (DTM), was found to be a more stable motion in healthy individuals, in term of the motion of the proximal carpal bones, compared with sagittal wrist motion. The aim of this study was therefore to explore the pathomechanics of the wrist in a common multi-plane movement pattern (DTM) and design a novel splint for rehabilitation following distal radius fractures. Methods: First, a multi-axis electro-goniometer was used to quantify the plane angle of motion of the dominant and non-dominant wrists during various activities, e.g. drinking from a glass of water and answering a phone in 43 healthy individuals. The following protocols were then implemented with a population following distal radius fracture. Two dynamic scans were performed, one of the sagittal wrist motion and DTM, in a 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device, bilaterally. The scaphoid and lunate carpal bones, as well as the surface of the distal radius, were manually-segmented in SolidWorks and the angles of motion of the scaphoid and lunate bones were calculated. Subsequently, a patient-specific splint was designed using 3D scans of the hand. The brace design comprises of a proximal attachment to the arm and a distal envelope of the palm. An axle with two wheels is attached to the proximal part. Two wires attach the proximal part with the medial-palmar and lateral-ventral aspects of the distal part: when the wrist extends, the first wire is released and the second wire is strained towards the radius. The opposite occurs when the wrist flexes. The splint was attached to the wrist using Velcro and constrained the wrist movement to the desired calculated multi-plane of motion. Results: No significant differences were found between the multi-plane angles of the dominant and non-dominant wrists. The most common daily activities occurred at a plane angle of approximately 20° to 45° from the sagittal plane and the MRI studies show individual angles of the plane of motion. The printed splint fitted the wrist of the subjects and constricted movement to the desired multi-plane of motion. Hooks were inserted on each part to allow the addition of springs or rubber bands for resistance training towards muscle strengthening in the rehabilitation setting. Conclusions: It has been hypothesized that activation of the wrist in a multi-plane movement pattern following distal radius fractures will accelerate the recovery of the patient. Our results show that this motion can be determined from either the dominant or non-dominant wrists. The design of the patient-specific dynamic splint is the first step towards assessing whether splinting to induce combined movement is beneficial to the rehabilitation process, compared to conventional treatment. The evaluation of the clinical benefits of this method, compared to conventional rehabilitation methods following wrist fracture, are a part of a PhD work, currently conducted by an occupational therapist.

Keywords: Rehabilitation, distal radius fracture, dynamic magnetic resonance imaging, dart throw motion

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