Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2012

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Rahmatalla, Salam

First Committee Member

Fethke, Nathan B

Second Committee Member

Gerr, Fred E

Third Committee Member

Grosland, Nicole M

Fourth Committee Member

Wilder, David G


Whole-body vibration (WBV) has been identified as a stressor to supine patients with head and spinal injuries during medical transportation. Limited information is available on the dynamic effects of the long spinal board and stretcher in vibrating environments. This is the first study to investigate the transmission of vibration through the long spinal board, military stretcher, and supine human in relation to a control case with full-rigid support. A sample of eight healthy male participants was used in this study. Each was placed on a vibration platform using spinal immobilization. Random vibration was applied in the fore-aft, lateral, and vertical directions, and the transmission of vibration was computed for the head, sternum, and pelvis. In addition, a novel approach to assess relative motion between segments, called relative transmissibility, was introduced. Compared to full-rigid support, the long spinal board strapped to a standard military litter system showed a 50% increase in transmission of anterior-posterior vibration to the head and a 100% increase to the sternum at its resonance frequency of 5 Hz (p < 0.05, Wilcoxon) for vertical vibration. Use of the cervical collar during immobilization increased the head nodding and the relative head-sternum flexion-extension as a result of the input fore-aft (axial) whole-body vibration. Yet, head nodding was reduced from vertical (anterior-posterior) input vibration. Relative transmissibility has revealed that at 5 Hz, the acceleration difference between the head and sternum was 1.5 times the vertical (anterior-posterior) input acceleration using the spinal board upon the military litter. During air, ground, and hand transportation, WBV may occur around 5 Hz. Patients with head and spinal cord injuries may benefit from vibration-suppression designs that minimize (1) the overall transmission of vibration in each axis and (2) the relative accelerations between segments for the most common vibration frequencies that occur during transportation. Furthermore, vibration applied in each axis independently showed transmissibility results comparable to that of simultaneous stimuli in three axes. Although the effects of vibration are quantified in this study, transient shock type vibration should be investigated and future research should be done to fully understand the clinical significance and application of these results.


xi, 65 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 63-65).


Copyright 2012 John Meusch