Body load and the postural precursors of motion sickness

Frank C. Koslucher, Eric J. Haaland, Thomas Stoffregen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Physical properties of the body affect the control of standing body sway. One example occurs when loads are added to the body, such as occurs when wearing a backpack. Other research has shown that subjective symptoms of motion sickness are preceded by differences in body sway between individuals who later report motion sickness and those who do not. In the present study we asked whether loads worn on the body would affect relations between body sway and motion sickness. We measured standing body sway without load and then with loads worn at the shoulders or thighs. Then participants were exposed to potentially nauseogenic visual motion stimulation while wearing shoulder or thigh loads. We measured body sway continuously during exposure to visual motion. Thirteen of 36 participants (36%) reported motion sickness. Body sway was affected by loads and by load position, consistent with previous research. Also consistent with previous research, sway differed between well and sick participants both before and during exposure to visual motion stimuli. In addition, during room motion the well and sick participants responded differently to loads. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that physical properties of the body can affect relations between body sway and motion sickness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)606-610
Number of pages5
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Balance
  • Body sway
  • Dynamic systems
  • Motion sickness
  • Posture


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