A high prevalence of low back pain has been reported among professional drivers, including mobile police officers. The purpose of this investigation was to develop and evaluate a novel thoracic support designed for mobile police officers. Fourteen participants (7 male, 7 female) attended two 120-min driving simulations using a Crown Victoria Interceptor seat and the same seat equipped with a surface mounted thoracic support. Time-varying spine postures, seat pressures and ratings of discomfort were measured. Averaged discomfort values were low (less than 10 mm of a possible 100 mm) for both seating conditions. The postures in the thoracic support condition were more similar to non-occupational driving without occupational equipment than the Crown Victoria seating condition. The reduction in pressure area at the low back with the thoracic support has the potential to reduce discomfort reporting in officers compared to a standard vehicle package.
Dr. Chad Gooyers, Kristina M. Gruevski, Michael W.R. Holmes, Clark R. Dickerson, Jack P. Callaghan