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Date: 22 Aug 2012

Analyzing surface EMG signals to determine relationship between jaw imbalance and arm strength loss

Abstract

Background

This study investigated the relationship between dental occlusion and arm strength; in particular, the imbalance in the jaw can cause loss in arm strength phenomenon. One of the goals of this study was to record the maximum forces that the subjects can resist against the pull-down force on their hands while biting a spacer of adjustable height on the right or left side of the jaw. Then EMG measurement was used to determine the EMG-Force relationship of the jaw, neck and arms muscles. This gave us useful insights on the arms strength loss due to the biomechanical effects of the imbalance in the jaw mechanism.

Methods

In this study to determine the effects of the imbalance in the jaw to the strength of the arms, we conducted experiments with a pool of 20 healthy subjects of both genders. The subjects were asked to resist a pull down force applied on the contralateral arm while biting on a firm spacer using one side of the jaw. Four different muscles – masseter muscles, deltoid muscles, bicep muscles and trapezoid muscles – were involved. Integrated EMG (iEMG) and Higuchi fractal dimension (HFD) were used to analyze the EMG signals.

Results

The results showed that (1) Imbalance in the jaw causes loss of arm strength contra-laterally; (2) The loss is approximately a linear function of the height of the spacers. Moreover, the iEMG showed the intensity of muscle activities decreased when the degrees of jaw imbalance increased (spacer thickness increased). In addition, the tendency of Higuchi fractal dimension decreased for all muscles.

Conclusions

This finding indicates that muscle fatigue and the decrease in muscle contraction level leads to the loss of arm strength.