OBJECTIVE: To examine structural properties of automobile seats that might be a source of LBP for the passenger, to modify the seat design accordingly, and to have it tested by drivers who have LBP.
DATA SOURCES: Recent studies of the vibrational properties of automobile seats published in automotive technical journals not readily accessible to a medical audience are summarized and further analyzed from a biomechanical point of view.
CONCLUSION: Because of the strong coupling between the seat backrest and the vehicle floor, a differential motion between backrest and seat cushion occurs when one is driving. It inevitably induces continuous strains in the lower lumbar spine of the seat occupant and is therefore a possible source of LBP. Vibrational measurements performed on a prototype automobile seat with a vertically moving backrest show that compared with a standard seat with fixed backrest, the differential motion is strongly reduced. The resulting relief of LBP is confirmed by drivers who used this type of seat.
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