Kia Golzari1, Ali Boolani2, Zacharias Papadakis3, Sergi Garcia-Retortillo4, Andreas Stamatis, FACSM5, Emily Locke2, Ryan McCarthy2, Kwadwo Osei Appiah-Kubi2, Ahmed Kadry2, Ahmed Torad2, Mostafa Elwan2, Hugo Posada-Quintero1. 1University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. 2Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY. 3Barry University, Miami Shores, FL. 4Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC. 5State University of New York Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY.

BACKGROUND: People that want to “zone-out” may use noise cancellation headphones. Balance between primary and secondary stabilizing muscles ensures proper body posture free of musculoskeletal problems. Headphones use may be a neck stressor placing increased weight on cervical spinae muscles altering their stabilizing effect. The intermuscular coordination of the cervical erector spinae using headphones while walking is unexplored. METHODS: Participants (M = 13, F= 13, age = 21 ± 6 yrs) asked to walk (20-meter track for 30 minutes), while wearing noise cancellation headphones. Electromyographic (EMG) activity from right and left cervical erector (CER, CEL) was collected. For each muscle and at a 5-min interval, we obtained 10 time series of EMG band power. For each pair of EMG frequency bands between CER and CEL, cross-frequency interactions among EMG frequency bands were examined by bivariate equal-time Pearson’s cross-correlations. Hierarchical structure of the network’s links strength was dissected into separate network modules for low (F1, F2, F3), intermediate (F4, F5, F6, F7), and high (F8, F9, F10) EMG frequency bands, representing the activation of different muscle fiber types. RESULTS: The CER-CEL network showed a hierarchical organization with a clear stratification profile, with corresponding dominant links strength interactions to low-low ([F1-F2]—[F1-F2]), intermediate-high ([F3-F7]—[F8-F10]) and high-high ([F8-F10]—[F8-F10]) EMG frequency bands. While this hierarchical organization is preserved across the six 5-min intervals, the average link strength of the CER-CEL network is significantly reduced for all network modules (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: The CER-CEL network shows overexpressed/excessive inter-muscular connectivity at the beginning of the trial, reflecting reduced efficiency and lower degree of adaptability (i.e., rigidity) due to headphones’ use. As participants get adapted to the walking and the headphones, the CER-CEL network becomes sparser, indicating improved intermuscular network functionality. Neck musculature needs approximately 10 minutes to acclimate to the weight of the headphones. Clinicians working with people, who have vestibular issues, may place a weight in the form of headphones (or comparable apparatus/weight) while performing walking activities to facilitate neural activity of the cervical extensors through the process of vestibular adaptation and/or habituation.

This document is currently not available here.