A Comparison of Cervical and Trunk Musculoskeletal Characteristics between Female and Male Army Helicopter Pilots
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Introduction: Neck pain (NP) and low back pain (LBP) are prevalent among military helicopter pilots. Although there have been few studies on sex differences in the NP/LBP prevalence in this population, females are shown to be at a greater risk of NP/LBP in civilian studies. This disparity may be due to musculoskeletal characteristics differences that predispose females for NP/LBP. The purpose of this study was to compare cervical and trunk musculoskeletal characteristics between male and female pilots. Methods: A total of 8 female pilots (Age: 27.6 ± 4.2yrs, HT: 166.1 ± 7.7cm, WT: 67.9 ± 10.6kg) were tested, and they were matched (1:1 matching ratio) with male pilots (Age: 27.8 ± 4.2yrs, HT: 175.0 ± 6.8cm, WT: 79.5 ± 5.8kg), based on age (± three years) and flight experience (± two years). Cervical/trunk strength and flexibility were tested using the hand-held/isokinetic dynamometer and inclinometers, respectively. Strength values were normalized to body weight for analyses. Paired t-tests or Wilcoxon Signed Rank tests were used to examine sex differences across all variables (p < 0.05). Results: Female pilots had significantly lower cervical flexion strength, trunk flexion strength, and trunk rotation strength (p < 0.05). For flexibility measures, female pilots had significantly greater cervical rotation flexibility (p < 0.05). No significant differences were observed in the lumbar spine flexibility. Discussion/Conclusion: The current preliminary study found sex differences in cervical and trunk musculoskeletal characteristics in Army helicopter pilots. Continued efforts are warranted to explore sex-specific intervention strategy and its effectiveness in reducing the NP/LBP prevalence among military helicopter pilots.
Scholarly Commons Citation
Keenan, K. A.,
Abt, J. P.,
Sell, T. C.,
Smalley, B. W.,
Wirt, M. D.,
Lephart, S. M.
A Comparison of Cervical and Trunk Musculoskeletal Characteristics between Female and Male Army Helicopter Pilots.
International Journal of Aviation, Aeronautics, and Aerospace,
Biomechanics Commons, Exercise Physiology Commons, Motor Control Commons, Musculoskeletal Diseases Commons, Orthopedics Commons, Preventive Medicine Commons, Sports Medicine Commons