Context: Although poor paraspinal muscle endurance has been associated with less quadriceps activation (QA) in persons with a history of low back pain, no authors have addressed the acute neuromuscular response after lumbar paraspinal fatiguing exercise.
Objective: To compare QA after lumbar paraspinal fatiguing exercise in healthy individuals and those with a history of low back pain.
Design: A 2 × 4 repeated-measures, time-series design.
Setting: Exercise and Sport Injury Laboratory.
Patients or Other Participants: Sixteen volunteers participated (9 males, 7 females; 8 controls and 8 with a history of low back pain; age = 24.1 ± 3.1 years, height = 173.4 ± 7.1 cm, mass = 72.4 ± 12.1 kg).
Intervention(s): Subjects performed 3 sets of isometric lumbar paraspinal fatiguing muscle contractions. Exercise sets continued until the desired shift in lumbar paraspinal electromyographic median power frequency was observed. Baseline QA was compared with QA after each exercise set.
Main Outcome Measure(s): An electric burst was superimposed while subjects performed a maximal quadriceps contraction. We used the central activation ratio to calculate QA = (FMVIC/[FMVIC + FBurst])* 100, where F = force and MVIC = maximal voluntary isometric contractions. Quadriceps electromyographic activity was collected at the same time as QA measurements to permit calculation of median frequency during MVIC.
Results: Average QA decreased from baseline (87.4% ± 8.2%) after the first (84.5% ± 10.5%), second (81.4% ± 11.0%), and third (78.2% ± 12.7%) fatiguing exercise sets. On average, the group with a history of low back pain showed significantly more QA than controls. No significant change in quadriceps median frequency was noted during the quadriceps MVICs.
Conclusions: The quadriceps muscle group was inhibited after lumbar paraspinal fatiguing exercise in the absence of quadriceps fatigue. This effect may be different for people with a history of low back pain compared with healthy controls.
superimposed burst technique; quadriceps muscle inhibition; low back pain
Isolated lumbar paraspinal muscle fatigue causes lower extremity and postural control deficits.
To describe the change in body position during gait after fatiguing lumbar extension exercises in persons with recurrent episodes of low back pain compared with healthy controls.
Motion analysis laboratory.
Patients or Other Participants:
Twenty-five recreationally active participants with a history of recurrent episodes of low back pain, matched by sex, height, and mass with 25 healthy controls.
We measured 3-dimensional lower extremity and trunk kinematics before and after fatiguing isometric lumbar paraspinal exercise.
Main Outcome Measure(s):
Measurements were taken while participants jogged on a custom-built treadmill surrounded by a 10-camera motion analysis system.
Group-by-time interactions were observed for lumbar lordosis and trunk angles (P < .05). A reduced lumbar spine extension angle was noted, reflecting a loss of lordosis and an increase in trunk flexion angle, indicating increased forward trunk lean, in healthy controls after fatiguing lumbar extension exercise. In contrast, persons with a history of recurrent low back pain exhibited a slight increase in spine extension, indicating a slightly more lordotic position of the lumbar spine, and a decrease in trunk flexion angles after fatiguing exercise. Regardless of group, participants experienced, on average, greater peak hip extension after lumbar paraspinal fatigue.
Small differences in response may represent a necessary adaptation used by persons with recurrent low back pain to preserve gait function by stabilizing the spine and preventing inappropriate trunk and lumbar spine positioning.
gait analysis; spine
Studies employing modified Biering-Sørenson tests have reported that low back endurance is related to the potential for developing low back pain. Understanding the manner in which spinal musculature fatigues in people with and without LBP is necessary to gain insight into the sensitivity of the modified Biering-Sørenson test to differentiate back health. Twenty male volunteers were divided into a LBP group of subjects with current subacute or a history of LBP that limited their activity (n = 10) and a control group (n = 10). The median frequency of the fast Fourier transform was calculated from bilateral surface electromyography (EMG) of the upper lumbar erector spinae (ULES), lower lumbar erector spinae (LLES) and biceps femoris while maintaining a prescribed modified Biering-Sørensen test position and exerting isometric forces equivalent to 100, 120, 140 and 160% of the estimated mass of the head-arms-trunk (HAT) segment. Time to failure was also investigated across the percentages of HAT. Fatigue time decreased with increasing load and differences between groups increased as load increased, however these differences were not significant. Significant differences in the EMG median frequency between groups occurred in the right biceps femoris (p ≤ 0.05) with significant pairwise differences occurring at 140% for the left biceps femoris and at 160% for the right biceps femoris. There were significant pairwise differences at 120% for average EMG of the right biceps femoris and at 140% for the right ULES, and right and left biceps femoris (p ≤ 0.05). The modified Biering-Sørensen test as usually performed at 100% HAT is not sufficient to demonstrate significant differences between controls and subjects with varying degrees of mild back disability based on the Oswestry classification.
The results do not wholly support the modified Biering-Sørensen test utilizing resistance of 100% HAT to discern differences in fatigue in subjects with mild low back pain.
A greater activation of the biceps femoris by low back pain individuals probably contributed to the lack of significant differences in back fatigue times.
The possibility exists that subjects with more sophisticated strategies could yield higher fatigue times despite inferior neuromuscular fatigue and the existence of low back pain.
Endurance; electromyography; median frequency; back muscles; healthy subjects
To compare the effects of lumbar stabilization exercises and lumbar dynamic strengthening exercises on the maximal isometric strength of the lumbar extensors, pain severity and functional disability in patients with chronic low back pain (LBP).
Patients suffering nonspecific LBP for more than 3 months were included prospectively and randomized into lumbar stabilization exercise group (n=11) or lumbar dynamic strengthening exercise group (n=10). Exercises were performed for 1 hour, twice weekly, for 8 weeks. The strength of the lumbar extensors was measured at various angles ranging from 0° to 72° at intervals of 12°, using a MedX. The visual analog scale (VAS) and the Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire (ODQ) were used to measure the severity of LBP and functional disability before and after the exercise.
Compared with the baseline, lumbar extension strength at all angles improved significantly in both groups after 8 weeks. The improvements were significantly greater in the lumbar stabilization exercise group at 0° and 12° of lumbar flexion. VAS decreased significantly after treatment; however, the changes were not significantly different between the groups. ODQ scores improved significantly in the stabilization exercise group only.
Both lumbar stabilization and dynamic strengthening exercise strengthened the lumbar extensors and reduced LBP. However, the lumbar stabilization exercise was more effective in lumbar extensor strengthening and functional improvement in patients with nonspecific chronic LBP.
Exercise; Low back pain; Muscle strength; Abdominal muscle; Rehabilitation
Paraspinal muscle fatigability during various trunk extension tests has been widely investigated by electromyography (EMG), and its task-dependency is established recently. Hip extensor muscle fatigability during the Sorensen test has been reported. The aim of the present experiments was to evaluate the task-dependency of back and hip extensor muscle fatigue during two variants of the Sorensen test. We hypothesized that the rate of muscular fatigue of the hip and back extensor muscles varies according to the test position. Twenty healthy young males with no history of low back pain volunteered to participate in this cross-sectional study. They were asked to perform two body weight-dependent isometric back extension tests (S1 = Sorensen test; S2 = modified Sorensen on a 45° Roman chair). Surface EMG activity of the paraspinal muscles (T10 and L5 levels) and hip extensor muscles (gluteus maximus; biceps femoris) was recorded, and muscular fatigue was assessed through power spectral analysis of the EMG data by calculating the rate of median power frequency change. We observed hip extensor muscle fatigue simultaneously with paraspinal muscle fatigue during both Sorensen variants. However, only L5 level EMG fatigue indices showed a task-dependency effect between S1 and S2. Hip extensor muscles appear to contribute to load sharing of the upper body mass during both Sorensen variants, but to a different extent because L5 level fatigue differs between the Sorensen variants. Our findings suggest that task-dependency has to be considered when EMG variables are compared between two types of lumbar muscle-fatiguing tasks.
Erector spinae; Hip extensors; Sorensen test; Muscle fatigability; Task-dependency
This study aims to investigate the electrical properties of lumbar paraspinal muscles (LPM) of patients with acute lower back pain (LBP) and to study a new approach, namely Electrical Impedance Myography (EIM), for reliable, low-cost, non-invasive, and real-time assessment of muscle-strained acute LBP.
Patients with muscle-strained acute LBP (n = 30) are compared to a healthy reference group (n = 30). Electrical properties of LPM are studied.
EIM is a novel technique under development for the assessment of neuromuscular disease. Therefore, it is speculated that EIM can be employed for the assessment of muscle-strained acute LBP.
Surface electrodes, in 2-electrode configurations, was used to measure the electrical properties of patient's and healthy subject's LPM at six different frequencies (0.02, 25.02, 50.02, 1000.02, 3000.02, and 5000.02 kHz), with the amplitude of the applied voltage limited to 200 mV. Parameters of impedance (Z), extracellular resistance (Re), intracellular resistance (Ri), and the ratio of extracellular resistance to intracellular resistance (Re/Ri) of LBP patient's and healthy subject's LPM were assessed to see if significant difference in values obtained in muscle-strained acute LBP patients existed.
Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) showed that all measurements (ICC>0.96 for all studying parameters: Z, Re, Ri, and Re/Ri) had good reliability and validity. Significant differences were found on Z between LBP patient's and healthy subject's LPM at all studying frequencies, with p<0.05 for all frequencies. It was also found that Re (p<0.05) and Re/Ri (p<0.05) of LBP patient's LPM was significant smaller than that of healthy subjects while Ri (p<0.05) of LBP patient's LPM was significant greater than that of healthy subjects. No statistical significant difference was found between the left and right LPM of LBP patients and healthy subjects on the four studying parameters.
EIM is a promising technique for assessing muscle-strained acute LBP.
Background: The strength of abdominal muscle and back extensors or their balances are commonly mentioned as major indicators of potential low back pain (LBP). Former studies on anthropometrics in terms of trunk muscle strength seemed to lack precision in methodology. Furthermore, the extension-flexion ratio, which is a good parameter of trunk muscle balance, was not as much studied as simple maximum torques in this area of study. Objectives: To investigate relationship between trunk muscle strength and lumbar lordosis, sacral angle in patients who did not show significant abnormal findings on their simple lateral radiograph. Methods: Thirty-one subjects were participated and their mean age was 35. Lumbar simple lateral radiograph was taken and lordotic angle was obtained by altered Cobb’s method. Sacral angle was also examined on the same film. The relationship between these angles and muscle strength (isometric maximum torques and ratios of them) was investigated by the correlation analysis. Results: None of the isometric maximum torques was related to sacral angle or lordotic angle. However, the ratio of extension to flexion was significantly related to the lordotic angle (Pearson’s correlation coefficient=0.491, p<0.01). Other ratios were not related to any of the angles. Conclusions: An imbalance in trunk muscle strength can influence significantly lordotic curve of lumbar spine and might be one risk factor for potential low back pain.
Lordosis; Sacral angle; Isometric measurement; Abdominal muscle function
Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most frequent musculoskeletal conditions in industrialized countries and its economic impact is important. Spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) is believed to be a valid approach in the treatment of both acute and chronic LBP. It has also been shown that SMT can modulate the electromyographic (EMG) activity of the paraspinal muscle. The purpose of this study was to investigate, in a group of patients with low back pain, the persistence of changes observed in trunk neuromuscular responses after a spinal manipulation (SMT).
Sixty adult participants with LBP performed a block of 5 flexion-extension movements. Participants in the experimental group (n=30) received lumbar SMT whereas participants in the control group (n=30) were positioned similarly for the treatment but did not receive SMT. Blocks of flexion-extension movements were repeated immediately after the manipulation as well as 5 and 30 minutes after SMT (or control position). EMG activity of paraspinal muscles was recorded at L2 and L5 level and kinematic data were collected to evaluate the lumbo-pelvic kinematics. Pain intensity was noted after each block. Normalized EMG, pain intensity and lumbo-pelvic kinematics were compared across experimental conditions.
Participants from the control group showed a significant increase in EMG activity during the last block (30 min) of flexion-extension trials in both flexion and full-flexion phases at L2. Increase in VAS scores was also observed in the last 2 blocks (5 min and 30 min) in the control group. No significant group x time interaction was seen at L5. No significant difference was observed in the lumbo-pelvic kinematics.
Changes in trunk neuromuscular control following HVLA spinal manipulation may reduce sensitization or muscle fatigue effects related to repetitive movement. Future studies should investigate short term changes in neuromuscular components, tissue properties and clinical outcomes.
Spinal manipulation; Electromyography; Kinematics; Flexion-relaxation phenomenon
Lumbar dynamometry is a potentially useful method for assessing the state of trunk muscles in low back pain (LBP) patients. The purpose of this study was to assess the reliability of lumbar dynamometry measurements in chronic LBP patients by conducting test-retest measurements on different days. Thirtyone men and 14 women with chronic LBP participated in this study. The experiments consisted of three sets of lumbar dynamometry measurements (Isostation B200) carried out on three different days with a 2- to 3-day interval. A standard protocol was administered to all subjects, consisting of a range-of-motion measurement about each axis, a 5 s maximum isometric trial about each axis and five dynamic repetitions about each axis against a resistance set at 25% and at 50% of the maximum isometric torque. Correlation coefficients and regression analysis were used to detect possible learning effects. One-way anova and regression analysis were used to assess the reliability of the measurements. High coefficients were found for the correlation between the first and second lumbar dynamometry measurements. Regression analysis showed that the differences between those measurements were not significant. This means that there was no learning effect operating between the first and second lumbar dynamometry measurements. One-way anova showed a reliability higher than 0.90 for the torque and velocity parameters. Reliability for the range-of-motion parameters was somewhat lower: between 0.76 and 0.94. Regression analysis showed no significant differences between the second and third measurements for the torque and velocity parameters. For range-of-motion parameters significant differences were found. From this study it can be concluded that the Isostation B200 provides reliable measures of torque and velocity parameters, but measures of the range-of-motion parameters are unreliable. No learning effect operates between the first and second lumbar dynamometry measurements, which means that a single measurement, with prior warming up and practice, is sufficient to assess the performance of the LBP patient.
Chronic low back pain; Isostation; Reliability; Learning effect
The study design is a prospective, case–control. The aim of this study was to develop a reliable measurement technique for the assessment of lumbar spine kinematics using digital video fluoroscopy in a group of patients with low back pain (LBP) and a control group. Lumbar segmental instability (LSI) is one subgroup of nonspecific LBP the diagnosis of which has not been clarified. The diagnosis of LSI has traditionally relied on the use of lateral functional (flexion–extension) radiographs but use of this method has proven unsatisfactory. Fifteen patients with chronic low back pain suspected to have LSI and 15 matched healthy subjects were recruited. Pulsed digital videofluoroscopy was used to investigate kinematics of lumbar motion segments during flexion and extension movements in vivo. Intersegmental linear translation and angular displacement, and pathway of instantaneous center of rotation (PICR) were calculated for each lumbar motion segment. Movement pattern of lumbar spine between two groups and during the full sagittal plane range of motion were analyzed using ANOVA with repeated measures design. Intersegmental linear translation was significantly higher in patients during both flexion and extension movements at L5–S1 segment (p < 0.05). Arc length of PICR was significantly higher in patients for L1–L2 and L5–S1 motion segments during extension movement (p < 0.05). This study determined some kinematic differences between two groups during the full range of lumbar spine. Devices, such as digital videofluoroscopy can assist in identifying better criteria for diagnosis of LSI in otherwise nonspecific low back pain patients in hope of providing more specific treatment.
Videofluoroscopy; Lumbar spine; Segmental instability; Kinematics; Motion
Hip function has been proposed to be related to low back pain (LBP) because of the anatomical proximity of the hip and lumbopelvic region. To date, findings have been inconclusive, possibly because the samples studied were heterogeneous. Sub-grouping samples based on characteristics such as activity demand, LBP classification, and sex might clarify research findings.
To describe and summarize studies that examine 3 factors proposed to be important to the study of the hip–LBP relationship.
Review of cross-sectional studies.
Academic healthcare center and research laboratory.
3 groups: athletes with a history of LBP who regularly participate in rotation-related sports, athletes without a history of LBP who are active but do not regularly participate in rotation-related sports, and athletes without a history of LBP who participate in rotation-related sports.
Hip range of motion and hip–lumbopelvic region coordination.
Hip range of motion was measured with an inclinometer. Coordination was examined based on kinematics obtained with a 3-dimensional motion-capture system.
Differences among groups were found based on activity demand, LBP classification, and sex.
When assessing athletes with and without LBP, characteristics such as activity demand, LBP classification, and sex should be considered.
classification; gender; sex; activity
A cohort of 38-year-old men and women were studied for leisure time physical exercise in relation to low back pain (LBP), education, work, social class and smoking by a self-administered questionnaire. At the age of 14 years, the subjects had been interviewed by their school doctor regarding history of LBP and radiographs of the thoracic and lumbar spine were taken. The results show no positive correlation between radiographic changes and LBP in the adolescent period and decreased physical activity in adulthood. Physical activity for at least 3 h/week reduces the risk of LBP measured as lifetime, 1-year and point prevalence. Eighty-five percent of the subjects who reported taking physical exercise for at least 3 h/week had participated in sports activity almost constantly since their school days and these reported being in better condition than the rest of the cohort. Otherwise they did not have a healthier mode of life. No physical exercise during leisure time was associated with a short school education, un-skilled work, unemployment and sickness, low social class, divorce, living in an apartment and smoking. Sixty percent had never or not for many years been interested in participating in sports. Badminton and tennis were the most common sports practised (36%), followed by gymnastics (32%), ball games — soccer and team handball - (25%), running (20%) and swimming (18%). Gymnastics and swimming seem to reduce LBP significantly. Our results show a falling interest in participating in sports activities over time, with 68% of the subjects being members of an athletic association previously, but only 29% currently. Women were more physically inactive during leisure time, probably because of their dual role. Logistic regression analysis indicates that physical activity is related to a long school education, high social class and regular sports activity over time.
Physical activity during leisure time; Sports activity; Cohort study
Studies of EMG power spectra have established associations between low-back pain (LBP) and median frequency (MF). This 2-year prospective study investigates the association of LBP with EMG variables over time. 120 health care workers underwent paraspinal EMG measurements and assessment of back pain disability. The EMG recordings were performed under isometric trunk extension at 2/3 maximum voluntary contraction and acquired from erector spinae muscles at the level of L4/L5. 108 (90%) subjects were reviewed at a minimum 2-year follow up. 16 out of 93 subjects with no history of chronic low-back pain became worse as measured by time off work, disability, reported pain and self-assessment rating. The value of the EMG variable half-width at inception demonstrated significant association with changes in subject’s outcome measure and their own assessment of their LBP at follow up (p < 0.05). Based on self-assessment data, subjects with no history of chronic LBP with half-width of greater than 56 Hz were at threefold greater risk of developing back pain compared with the remainder of the population (p = 0.045). The value of the initial median frequency (IMF) and MF slope at inception were also associated with the subjects’ own assessment of LBP at follow up. Subjects with an IMF greater than 49 Hz were at 5.8-fold greater risk of developing back pain compared with the remainder of the population (p = 0.014). EMG variables recorded from lumbar paraspinal muscles can identify a sub group of subjects at increased risk of developing low-back pain in the future.
EMG; Low back pain; Paraspinal muscles; Prediction; Cohort study
A prospective study.
To Investigate the prevalence of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) changes of the lumbar spine in low back pain (LBP) and the associated risk factors in young Arab population.
Overview of Literature
Studies on the prevalence of MRI findings and their relationship with LBP have been conducted; these have occurred in adult populations in developed countries. The prevalence of MRI changes in the young Arab population with LBP is not known.
Two hundred and fourteen patients of Arab origin in the 16 to 29 year age group with LBP symptoms underwent MRI examinations. The prevalence of MRI changes in the lumbar spine and associated risk factors were determined and compared to age, race, and gender-matched controls.
A majority (64%) of the patients with LBP (138 out of 214) were found to have MRI evidence of degenerative disc disease (DD) compared to 10% (22 out of 214) in the control group. The majority (61%) of patients had multiple level disease, most commonly involving the lowest 2 disc levels. Reduced signal of the disc followed by disc bulge was the most common MRI features seen in the symptomatic subjects. Obesity correlated with MRI prevalence of abnormalities, while activity demonstrated a positive trend.
The MRI prevalence of DD among the young Arab patients with LBP is high when compared to other reports in literature. Obesity correlated with MRI prevalence of abnormalities while activity demonstrated a positive trend.
Magnetic resonance imaging; Lumbar spine; Disc; Degeneration; Prevalence; Young; Arabs
To examine the correlation between hamstring flexibility and hip and lumbar spine joint excursions during standardized reaching and forward bending tasks.
Retrospective analysis of data obtained during two previous prospective studies that examined kinematics and kinetics during forward bending tasks in individuals with and without low back pain (LBP).
The two previous studies were conducted in the Motor Control Lab at Ohio University.
Data from a total of 122 subjects from two previous studies. Study 1: 86 subjects recovered from an episode of acute LBP (Recovered). Study 2 (unpublished findings): 18 chronic low back pain subjects (LBP) and 18 healthy matched controls (Healthy).
Main Outcome Measure
Correlation values between hamstring flexibility as measured by straight leg raise (SLR) and amount of hip and lumbar spine joint excursions used during standardized reaching and forward bending tasks.
No significant correlation was found between hamstring flexibility and hip and lumbar joint excursions during forward bending tasks in the LBP or Recovered groups. Straight leg raise had a significant negative correlation with lumbar spine excursions during reaching tasks to a low target in the Healthy group (Right SLR: P=.011, Left SLR: P=.004).
Hamstring flexibility is not strongly related to the amount of lumbar flexion used to perform forward bending tasks in individuals who have chronic LBP or who have recovered from LBP. More research needs to be conducted to examine the influence of hamstring flexibility on observed movement patterns to further evaluate the efficacy of flexibility training in the rehabilitation of patients with low back pain.
Hip joint; Low back pain; Range of motion; articular; Rehabilitation
Few prospective cohort studies of workplace low back pain (LBP) with quantified job physical exposure have been performed. There are few prospective epidemiological studies for LBP occupational risk factors and reported data generally have few adjustments for many personal and psychosocial factors.
A multi-center prospective cohort study has been incepted to quantify risk factors for LBP and potentially develop improved methods for designing and analyzing jobs. Due to the subjectivity of LBP, six measures of LBP are captured: 1) any LBP, 2) LBP ≥ 5/10 pain rating, 3) LBP with medication use, 4) LBP with healthcare provider visits, 5) LBP necessitating modified work duties and 6) LBP with lost work time. Workers have thus far been enrolled from 30 different employment settings in 4 diverse US states and performed widely varying work. At baseline, workers undergo laptop-administered questionnaires, structured interviews, and two standardized physical examinations to ascertain demographics, medical history, psychosocial factors, hobbies and physical activities, and current musculoskeletal disorders. All workers’ jobs are individually measured for physical factors and are videotaped. Workers are followed monthly for the development of low back pain. Changes in jobs necessitate re-measure and re-videotaping of job physical factors. The lifetime cumulative incidence of low back pain will also include those with a past history of low back pain. Incident cases will exclude prevalent cases at baseline. Statistical methods planned include survival analyses and logistic regression.
Data analysis of a prospective cohort study of low back pain is underway and has successfully enrolled over 800 workers to date.
Epidemiology; Ergonomics; Cohort; Low back pain; NIOSH lifting equation
Clinical experience suggests that many patients with Modic changes have relatively severe and persistent low back pain (LBP), which typically appears to be resistant to treatment. Exercise therapy is the recommended treatment for chronic LBP, however, due to their underlying pathology, Modic changes might be a diagnostic subgroup that does not benefit from exercise. The objective of this study was to compare the current state-of-the art treatment approach (exercise and staying active) with a new approach (load reduction and daily rest) for people with Modic changes using a randomized controlled trial design.
Participants were patients from an outpatient clinic with persistent LBP and Modic changes. They were allocated using minimization to either rest therapy for 10 weeks with a recommendation to rest for two hours daily and the option of using a flexible lumbar belt or exercise therapy once a week for 10 weeks. Follow-up was at 10 weeks after recruitment and 52 weeks after intervention and the clinical outcome measures were pain, disability, general health and global assessment, supplemented by weekly information on low back problems and sick leave measured by short text message (SMS) tracking.
In total, 100 patients were included in the study. Data on 87 patients at 10 weeks and 96 patients at one-year follow-up were available and were used in the intention-to-treat analysis. No statistically significant differences were found between the two intervention groups on any outcome.
No differences were found between the two treatment approaches, 'rest and reduced load' and 'exercise and staying active', in patients with persistent LBP and Modic changes.
Patterns of lumbar posture and motion are associated with low back pain (LBP). Research suggests LBP subgroups demonstrate different patterns during common tasks. This study assessed differences in end-range lumbar flexion during two tasks between two LBP subgroups classified according to the Movement System Impairment model. Additionally, the impact of gender differences on subgroup differences was assessed. Kinematic data were collected. Subjects in the Rotation (Rot) and Rotation with Extension (RotExt) LBP subgroups were asked to sit slumped and bend forward from standing. Lumbar end-range flexion was calculated. Subjects reported symptom behavior during each test. Compared to the RotExt subgroup, the Rot subgroup demonstrated greater end-range lumbar flexion during slumped sitting and a trend towards greater end-range lumbar flexion with forward bending. Compared to females, males demonstrated greater end-range lumbar flexion during slumped sitting and forward bending. A greater proportion of people in the Rot subgroup reported symptoms with each test compared to the RotExt subgroup. Males and females were equally likely to report symptoms with each test. Gender differences were not responsible for LBP subgroup differences. Subgrouping people with LBP provides insight into differences in lumbar motion within the LBP population. Results suggesting potential consistent differences across flexion-related tasks support the presence of stereotypical movement patterns that are related to LBP.
Altered movement pattern has been associated with the development of low back pain (LBP). The purpose of this study was to investigate the activity pattern of the ipsilateral erector spinae (IES) and contralateral erectorspinae (CES), gluteus maximus (GM) and hamstring (HAM) muscles during prone hip extension (PHE) test in women with and without LBP. A cross-sectional non-experimental design was used.
Convenience sample of 20 female participated in the study. Subjects were categorized into two groups: with LBP (n = 10) and without LBP (n = 10). The electromyography (EMG) signal amplitude of the tested muscles during PHE (normalized to maximum voluntary electrical activity (MVE)) was measured in the dominant lower extremity in all subjects.
Statistical analysis revealed greater normalized EMG signal amplitude in women with LBP compared to non-LBP women. There was significant difference in EMG activity of the IES (P = 0.03) and CES (P = 0.03) between two groups. However, no significant difference was found in EMG signals of the GM (P = 0.11) and HAM (P = 0.14) among two groups.
The findings of this study demonstrated altered activation pattern of the lumbo-pelvic muscles during PHE in the women with chronic LBP. This information is important for investigators using PHE as either an evaluation tool or a rehabilitation exercise.
Electromyography; Low back pain; Movement pattern; Prone hip extension
Effective strategies for the primary prevention of low back pain (LBP) remain elusive with few large-scale clinical trials investigating exercise and education approaches. The purpose of this trial was to determine whether core stabilization alone or in combination with psychosocial education prevented incidence of low back pain in comparison to traditional lumbar exercise.
The Prevention of Low Back Pain in the Military study was a cluster randomized clinical study with four intervention arms and a two-year follow-up. Participants were recruited from a military training setting from 2007 to 2008. Soldiers in 20 consecutive companies were considered for eligibility (n = 7,616). Of those, 1,741 were ineligible and 1,550 were eligible but refused participation. For the 4,325 Soldiers enrolled with no previous history of LBP average age was 22.0 years (SD = 4.2) and there were 3,082 males (71.3%). Companies were randomly assigned to receive traditional lumbar exercise, traditional lumbar exercise with psychosocial education, core stabilization exercise, or core stabilization with psychosocial education, The psychosocial education session occurred during one session and the exercise programs were done daily for 5 minutes over 12 weeks. The primary outcome for this trial was incidence of low back pain resulting in the seeking of health care.
There were no adverse events reported. Evaluable patient analysis (4,147/4,325 provided data) indicated no differences in low back incidence resulting in the seeking of health care between those receiving the traditional exercise and core stabilization exercise programs. However, brief psychosocial education prevented low back pain episodes regardless of the assigned exercise approach, resulting in a 3.3% (95% CI: 1.1 to 5.5%) decrease over two years (numbers needed to treat (NNT) = 30.3, 95% CI = 18.2 to 90.9).
Core stabilization has been advocated as preventative, but offered no such benefit when compared to traditional lumbar exercise in this trial. Instead, a brief psychosocial education program that reduced fear and threat of low back pain decreased incidence of low back pain resulting in the seeking of health care. Since this trial was conducted in a military setting, future studies are necessary to determine if these findings can be translated into civilian populations.
NCT00373009 at ClinicalTrials.gov - http://clinicaltrials.gov/
primary prevention; core stabilization; patient education; incidence; low back pain
To determine the efficacy of warm whirlpool, cold whirlpool, and contrast therapy in the treatment of delayed-onset muscle soreness.
Design and Setting:
Subjects performed eccentric contractions of the elbow flexors and received 4 treatments: immediately postexercise and 24, 48, and 72 hours postexercise. Treatments consisted of 24-minute treatments with warm whirlpool, cold whirlpool, contrast therapy, or no treatment.
Fifty-six sex-matched volunteers from the University of Pittsburgh.
Measurements were taken at 5 assessment times: pre-exercise (0 hours); prior to treatment at 24, 48, and 72 hours postexercise; and at 96 hours postexercise. Dependent variables were degrees of resting elbow flexion, active elbow flexion, and extension; perceived soreness values on a Graphic Pain Rating Scale; and maximal voluntary isometric contraction. A repeated-measures analysis of variance (group by time) and Tukey post hoc analysis were used to determine which treatment groups differed significantly in returning subjects to pre-exercise values.
Cold whirlpool and contrast therapy were found to return subjects to baseline values of resting elbow flexion and perceived soreness significantly more than warm whirlpool or no treatment (P < .01). Additionally, warm whirlpool was found to be more effective than no treatment in the return of resting elbow flexion (P < .01).
These results suggest that cold whirlpool and contrast therapy are more effective than warm whirlpool or no treatment in alleviating delayed-onset muscle soreness in the elbow flexors.
eccentric exercise; hydrotherapy; contrast therapy
Back extension exercises are often used in the rehabilitation of low back pain. However, at present it is not clear how the posterior muscles are recruited during different types of extension exercises. Therefore, the present study will evaluate the myoelectric activity of thoracic, lumbar and hip extensor muscles during different extension exercises in healthy persons. Based on these physiological observations we will make recommendations regarding the use of extensions exercises in clinical practice.
Fourteen healthy subjects performed four standardized extension exercises (dynamic trunk extension, dynamic-static trunk extension, dynamic leg extension, dynamic-static leg extension) in randomized order at an intensity of 60% of 1-RM (one repetition maximum). Surface EMG signals of Latissimus dorsi (LD), Longissimus thoracis pars thoracic (LTT) and lumborum (LTL), Iliocostalis lumborum pars thoracic (ILT) and lumborum (ILL), lumbar Multifidus (LM) and Gluteus Maximus (GM) were measured during the various exercises. Subsequently, EMG root mean square values were calculated and compared between trunk and leg extension exercises, as well as between a dynamic and dynamic-static performance using mixed model analysis. During the dynamic exercises a 2 second concentric contraction was followed by a 2 second eccentric contraction, whereas in the dynamic-static performance, a 5 second isometric interval was added in between the concentric and eccentric contraction phase.
In general, the muscles of the posterior chain were recruited on a higher level during trunk extension (mean ± SD, 56.6 ± 30.8%MVC) compared to leg extension (47.4 ± 30.3%MVC) (p ≤ 0.001). No significant differences were found in mean muscle activity between dynamic and dynamic-static performances (p = 0.053). The thoracic muscles (LTT and ILT) were recruited more during trunk extension (64.9 ± 27.1%MVC) than during leg extension (54.2 ± 22.1%MVC) (p = 0.045) without significant differences in activity between both muscles (p = 0.138). There was no significant differences in thoracic muscle usage between the dynamic or dynamic-static performance of the extension exercises (p = 0.574).
Lumbar muscle activity (LTT, ILL, LM) was higher during trunk extension (70.6 ± 22.2%MVC) compared to leg extension (61.7 ± 27.0%MVC) (p = 0.047). No differences in myoelectric activity between the lumbar muscles could be demonstrated during the extension exercises (p = 0.574). During each exercise the LD (19.2 ± 13.9%MVC) and GM (28.2 ± 14.6%MVC) were recruited significantly less than the thoracic and lumbar muscles.
The recruitment of the posterior muscle chain during different types of extension exercises was influenced by the moving body part, but not by the type of contraction. All muscle groups were activated at a higher degree during trunk extension compared to leg extension. Based on the recruitment level of the different muscles, all exercises can be used to improve the endurance capacity of thoracic muscles, however for improvement of lumbar muscle endurance leg extension exercises seem to be more appropriate. To train the endurance capacity of the LD and GM extension exercises are not appropriate.
Trunk extensor muscles; Multifidus; Posterior muscle chain; Extension exercise; Electromyography; Spine
The aim of this study was to investigate whether whole-body vibration (WBV) is associated with prolapsed lumbar intervertebral disc (PID) and nerve root entrapment among patients with low-back pain (LBP) undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
A consecutive series of patients referred for lumbar MRI because of LBP were compared with controls X-rayed for other reasons. Subjects were questioned about occupational activities loading the spine, psychosocial factors, driving, personal characteristics, mental health, and certain beliefs about LBP. Exposure to WBV was assessed by six measures, including weekly duration of professional driving, hours driven at a spell, and current 8-hour daily equivalent root-mean-square acceleration A(8). Cases were sub-classified according to whether or not PID/nerve root entrapment was present. Associations with WBV were examined separately for cases with and without these MRI findings, with adjustment for age, sex, and other potential confounders.
Altogether, 237 cases and 820 controls were studied, including 183 professional drivers and 176 cases with PID and/or nerve root entrapment. Risks associated with WBV tended to be lower for LBP with PID/nerve root entrapment but somewhat higher for risks of LBP without these abnormalities. However, associations with the six metrics of exposure were all weak and not statistically significant. Neither exposure–response relationships nor increased risk of PID/nerve root entrapment from professional driving or exposure at an A(8) above the European Union daily exposure action level were found.
WBV may be a cause of LBP but it was not associated with PID or nerve root entrapment in this study.
back pain; disc pathology; whole-body vibration
Objective: The objective of this paper is to investigate if there is a relationship between the side of leg length inequality (LLI) and the side of low back pain (LBP).
Design: Carefully standardised radiographic technique as described by Giles (1,2) and reviewed by Rock (3) was utilised to evaluate LLI in individuals who presented for assessment of LBP. Age, sex and the side of LBP were extracted from patient records. The side of LBP was determined by marking a pain diagram, taking the form of a body outline, included in the patient questionnaires. These findings were examined to reveal any relationship between the side of LLI and the side of LBP.
Setting: The study was conducted in a private chiropractic practice.
Participants: From January 1993 to September 1993 all patients presenting for chiropractic assessment of LBP where included. Patients whose history revealed relevant trauma, surgery or whose radiographic examination showed anomaly or pathology, likely to confound results, were excluded from the study.
Results and Conclusion: A relationship has been demonstrated between the LLI side and the side of LBP. The broad age range of subjects may well have been a confounding factor in this study. Re-analysis of the sample of patients aged 34 years or less demonstrated that the LBP side is most commonly opposite the side of LLI.
Leg length inequality; lumbar spine; low back pain; radiographic methods.; chiropractic
To examine if activity limitation differs between 2 low back pain (LBP) subgroups in the Movement System Impairment (MSI) model.
Cross-sectional observational study.
University medical center musculoskeletal analysis laboratory.
Convenience sample of 83 subjects with chronic LBP who were subgrouped as rotation (Rot) or rotation with extension (RotExt) according to the MSI model.
Main Outcome Measurements
Subjects completed the modified Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire and the physical function subscale of the 36-Item Short-Form Health survey (SF-36 PFS) to assess activity limitation. Subjects also completed baseline measures related to demographics, LBP history, pain intensity, habitual activity level, general health status, and fear-avoidance behavior. Independent-samples t-tests, χ2 tests of independence, and 2-way analysis of variance tests were used to analyze the data.
Subjects in the Rot subgroup reported greater activity limitation on the modified Oswestry Questionnaire (P = .02) and SF-36 PFS (P = .03) than subjects in the RotExt subgroup. No other differences between LBP subgroups were significant (P > .05), except gender. More women (71%) than men (29%) were in the RotExt subgroup (P = .03). However, there was no main effect of gender and no interaction effect of gender and LBP subgroup on the modified Oswestry Questionnaire or the SF-36 PFS (P > .05).
These results support that the Rot and RotExt LBP subgroups based on the MSI model differ with regard to variables that index activity limitation, with the Rot subgroup reporting greater limitation on both activity limitation measures. These differences are not the result of differences in other baseline measures.