Upper limb electromyographic analysis of manual wheelchair transfer techniques in individuals with spinal cord injury: A systematic review

Suchita Sunder, Pratiksha Tilak Rao, Suruliraj Karthikbabu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background and Purpose: The objective of this study is to determine the upper limb muscle electromyographic (EMG) activity required during various manual wheelchair transfers in the population of spinal cord injury (SCI). Methods: This review included observational studies reporting the (EMG) activity of upper limb muscles during wheelchair transfers in people with SCI. We searched electronic databases and reference lists of relevant literature between 1995 and March 2022 with English language limits, yielding 3870 total articles. Two independent researchers performed data extraction and conducted quality assessment using two checklists, the Modified Downs and Blacks and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for observational cohort and cross-sectional studies. Results: After eligibility screening, seven studies were included in this review. The sample size ranged from 10 to 32 participants aged 31–47 years. They assessed four types of transfers and mostly evaluated six upper limb muscles were biceps, triceps, anterior deltoid, pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi and ascending fibres of the trapezius. The peak EMG value indicated that muscle recruitment varied in both upper limbs according to the task demand, and the highest activity was seen during the lift-pivot transfer phase. Because of the data heterogeneity, a meta-analysis of study results was not feasible. Conclusion: There were various ways of reporting the upper limb EMG muscle activity profile across all the included studies with a limited sample size. The crucial role of upper limb muscles during different types of manual wheelchair transfers was interpreted in this review. This is essential for predicting functional independence of individuals with SCI and warranting optimal rehabilitation strategies for wheelchair transfer skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-393
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies
Publication statusPublished - 07-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Upper limb electromyographic analysis of manual wheelchair transfer techniques in individuals with spinal cord injury: A systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this