Introduction: The Spine Buddy® supportive pad was developed to be inserted underneath military backpacks to help disperse heavy loads.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the impact the additional supportive pad has on upper extremity blood flow when wearing a heavy military backpack.
Methods: Forty healthy participants (age= 26.4 + 5.5 yr, height= 1.74 + 0.11 m, body mass= 79.6 + 20.4 kg: mean + SD) were equally randomized into an AB:BA crossover study design. Twenty participants were in the AB group, and twenty were in the BA group. The study involved a 15-minute rest period between each of the 2 conditions: A (wearing a 45.3 kg military backpack) vs B (wearing a 45.3 kg military backpack with an additional ergonomic support pad underneath). Participants wore the backpack for 2 minutes during each condition (A or B) and then upper extremity blood flow measurements were taken. Outcome measures were index finger pulse oximetry and radial artery spectral Doppler Resistance Index (RI) assessed under each condition. An independent samples t-test was used to make comparisons between A and B conditions.
Results: No statistically significant difference was shown between pulse oximetry or RI between A and B conditions.
Conclusion: Preliminarily, the results of this study suggest that wearing an additional support pad underneath a military backpack has no short-term impact, positive or negative, on pulse oximetry or upper extremity blood flow.
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