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Motor variability in occupational health and performance.

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Motor variability in occupational health and performance.

Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2012 Dec;27(10):979-93

Authors: Srinivasan D, Mathiassen SE

Several recent reviews have reported that ‘repetitive movements’ constitute a risk factor for occupational musculoskeletal disorders in the neck, shoulder and arm regions. More variation in biomechanical exposure is often suggested as an effective intervention in such settings. Since increasing variation using extrinsic methods like job rotation may not always be possible in an industrial context, the intrinsic variability of the motor system may offer an alternative opportunity to increase variation. Motor variability refers to the natural variation in postures, movements and muscle activity observed to different extents in all tasks. The current review discusses research appearing in motor control, sports sciences and occupational biomechanics literature to answer whether motor variability is important to consider in an occupational context, and if yes, whether it can be manipulated by training the worker or changing the working conditions so as to increase biomechanical variation without jeopardizing production. The review concludes that motor variability is, indeed, a relevant issue in occupational health and performance and suggests a number of key issues for further research.

PMID: 22954427 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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