Postural control of the trunk in response to lateral support surface translations during trunk movement and loading

Exp Brain Res. 2001 Dec;141(4):552-9. doi: 10.1007/s00221-001-0896-5. Epub 2001 Oct 31.


The postural response to translation of the support surface may be influenced by the performance of an ongoing voluntary task. This study was designed to test this proposal by applying lateral perturbations while subjects handled a load in the frontal plane. Measurements were made of medio-lateral displacement of the centre of pressure, angular displacement of the trunk and thigh in the frontal plane and intra-abdominal pressure. Subjects were translated randomly to the left and right in a variety of conditions that involved standing either quietly or with a 5 kg load in their left hand, which they were required either to hold statically or to lift or lower. The results indicate that when the perturbation occurred towards the loaded left side the subjects were able to return their centre of pressure, trunk and thigh rapidly and accurately to the initial position. However, when the perturbation occurred towards the right (away from the load) this correction was delayed and associated with multiple changes in direction of movement, suggesting decreased efficiency of the postural response. This reduced efficiency can be explained by a conflict between the motor commands for the ongoing voluntary task and the postural response, and/or by the mechanical effect of the asymmetrical addition of load to the trunk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Hand / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Pressure
  • Thigh / physiology
  • Thorax / physiology*
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology