Kollock, R., K. Games, A. E. Wilson, and J. Sefton. 2016. Vehicle exposure and spinal musculature in military warfighters: a meta-analysis. Journal of Athletic Training 51(11):981-990.
Context: Spinal musculature fatigue from vehicle exposure may place warfighters at risk for spinal injuries and pain. Research on the relationship between vehicle exposure and spinal musculature fatigue is conflicting. A better understanding of the effect of military duty on musculoskeletal function is needed before sports medicine teams can develop injury-prevention programs. Objective: To determine if the literature supports a definite effect of vehicle exposure on spinal musculature fatigue. Data sources: We searched the MEDLINE, Military & Government Collection (EBSCO), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Technical Information Center, PubMed, and Web of Science databases for articles published between January 1990 and September 2015. Study selection: To be included, a study required a clear sampling method, preexposure and postexposure assessments of fatigue, a defined objective measurement of fatigue, a defined exposure time, and a study goal of exposing participants to forces related to vehicle exposure. Data extraction: Sample size, mean preexposure and postexposure measures of fatigue, vehicle type, and exposure time. Data synthesis: Six studies met the inclusion criteria. We used the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network algorithm to determine the appropriate tool for quality appraisal of each article. Unweighted random-effects model meta-analyses were conducted, and a natural log response ratio was used as the effect metric. The overall meta-analysis demonstrated that vehicle exposure increased fatigue of the spinal musculature (P = .03; natural log response ratio = -0.22, 95% confidence interval = -0.42, -0.02). Using the spinal region as a moderator, we observed that vehicle ride exposure significantly increased fatigue at the lumbar musculature (P = .02; natural log response ratio = -0.27, 95% confidence interval = -0.50, -0.04) but not at the cervical or thoracic region. Conclusions: Vehicle exposure increased fatigue at the lumbar region.