Comparison of perceived comfort differences between standard and experimental load carriage systems
The current popularity of backpack-type load carriage systems (LCS) by students has precipitated a prevalence of postural abnormalities and pain. This study compared subjective perceptual comfort in standard and vertically loaded LCSs. Sixteen females ages 18–23 years rated their personal LCSs for perceived shoulder, neck, and lower back comfort and for overall comfort, each day for two weeks using 100 mm visual analogue scales (VAS). Each scale contained polar extremities of ‘very comfortable’ to ‘very uncomfortable’ and a vertical mark placed on the 100 mm line by the participants indicated their perception of comfort. Following two weeks, participants were given LCSs that distributed the weight vertically and were asked to rate the system in the same way for an additional two-week period. Statistical analysis revealed significant differences in shoulder (p=0.015), neck (p=0.005), and lower back (p=0.036) comfort and overall comfort (p=0.001) between the participants' personal LCSs and the experimental LCS. In conclusion, vertical load placement may redistribute the load in a manner that reduces symptoms of selected anatomical discomfort.
load carriage, comfort, perception
Jacobson, B. H., D. A. Cook, T. S. Altena, H. A. Gemmell, and B. M. Haynes. "Comparison of perceived comfort differences between standard and experimental load carriage systems." Ergonomics 46, no. 10 (2003): 1035-1041.