Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine ( 2014 ) 13 , 329 - 337

Research article
The Effects of Cervical Muscle Fatigue on Balance – A Study with Elite Amateur Rugby League Players
Guy Gosselin , Michael J. Fagan
Author Information
School of Engineering, University of Hull, UK

Guy Gosselin
✉ Medical Engineering Research Group, The Department of Engineering, University of Hull Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, HU6 7RX, UK
Email: g.gosselin@2010.hull.ac
Publish Date
Received: 27-09-2014
Accepted: 29-12-2014
Published (online): 01-05-2014
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ABSTRACT

Neck muscle fatigue has been shown to alter an individual’s balance in a similar way to that reported in subjects suffering from neck pain or subjects that have suffered a neck injury. The main purpose of the present study was to quantify the effects of neck fatigue on neck muscle electromyography (EMG) activity, balance, perceived fatigue and perceived stability. Forty four elite amateur rugby league players resisted with their neck muscles approximately 35% maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) force for 15 minutes in eight different directions. Sway velocity and surface electromyography were measured. Questionnaires were used to record perceived effort and stability. Repeated measures ANOVA showed that after 15 minutes isometric contraction, significant changes were seen in sway velocity, perceived sway and EMG median frequency. There were no differences in perceived efforts. The changes in sway velocity and median frequency were more pronounced after extension and right and left posterior oblique contractions but there was no significant difference in sway velocity after contraction in the right lateral flexion, right anterior oblique and left anterior oblique direction of contraction. All the subjects showed oriented whole-body leaning in the plane of the contraction. The experiment produced significantly altered and perceived altered balance in this group of physically fit individuals. The results may contribute to our understanding of normal functional capacities of athletes and will provide a basis for further investigation in healthy non-athletes and participants that have suffered neck injuries. This may ultimately help develop accurate and valid rehabilitation outcome measures.

Key words: Biomechanics, posturography, neck pain, EMG, sports


           Key Points
  • Using a percentage of MVIC permits to proportionally fatigue various neck muscle groups evenly
  • Fatigue of different neck muscle groups will alter balance differently
  • Fatigue of muscles producing extension and posterior oblique will alter balance the most although subjects perceive a greater altered balance after lateral flexion
 
 
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