Dynamic Spatial Tuning of Cervical Muscle Reflexes to Multidirectional Seated Perturbations
Journal article, 2015
Study Design. Human volunteers were exposed experimentally to multidirectional seated perturbations.
Objective. To determine the activation patterns, spatial distribution and preferred directions of reflexively activated cervical muscles for human model development and validation.
Summary of Background Data. Models of the human head and neck are used to predict occupant kinematics and injuries in motor vehicle collisions. Because of a dearth of relevant experimental data, few models use activation schemes based on in vivo recordings of muscle activation and instead assume uniform activation levels for all muscles within presumed agonist or antagonist groups. Data recorded from individual cervical muscles are needed to validate or refute this assumption.
Methods. Eight subjects (6 males, 2 females) were exposed to seated perturbations in 8 directions. Electromyography was measured with wire electrodes inserted into the sternocleidomastoid, trapezius, levator scapulae, splenius capitis, semispinalis capitis, semispinalis cervicis, and multifidus muscles. Surface electrodes were used to measure sternohyoid activity. Muscle activity evoked by the perturbations was normalized with recordings from maximum voluntary contractions.
Results. The multidirectional perturbations produced activation patterns that varied with direction within and between muscles. Sternocleidomastoid and sternohyoid activated similarly in forward and forward oblique directions. The semispinalis capitis, semispinalis cervicis, and multifidus exhibited similar spatial patterns and preferred directions, but varied in activation levels. Levator scapulae and trapezius activity generally remained low, and splenius capitis activity varied widely between subjects.
Conclusion. All muscles showed muscle- and direction-specific contraction levels. Models should implement muscle- and direction-specific activation schemes during simulations of the head and neck responses to omnidirectional horizontal perturbations where muscle forces influence kinematics, such as during emergency maneuvers and low-severity crashes.
Level of Evidence: N/A
spatial tuning patterns
numerical model validation