Context: A neuromuscular relationship exists between the lumbar extensor and quadriceps muscles during fatiguing exercise. However, this relationship may be different for persons with low back pain (LBP).
Objective: To compare quadriceps inhibition after isometric, fatiguing lumbar extension exercise between persons with a history of LBP and control subjects.
Design: A 2 × 3 factorial, repeated-measures, time-series design with independent variables of group (persons with a history of LBP, controls) and time (baseline, postexercise set 1, postexercise set 2).
Setting: University research laboratory.
Patients or Other Participants: Twenty-five subjects with a history of LBP were matched by sex, height, and mass to 25 healthy control subjects.
Intervention(s): Electromyography median frequency indexed lumbar paraspinal muscular fatigue while subjects performed 2 sets of isometric lumbar extension exercise. Subjects exercised until a 15% downward shift in median frequency for the first set and a 25% shift for the second set were demonstrated.
Main Outcome Measure(s): Knee extension force was measured while subjects performed an isometric maximal quadriceps contraction. During this maximal effort, a percutaneous electric stimulus was applied to the quadriceps, causing a transient, supramaximal increase in force output. We used the ratio between the 2 forces to estimate quadriceps inhibition. Quadriceps electromyographic activity was recorded during the maximal contractions to compare median frequencies over time.
Results: Both groups exhibited significantly increased quadriceps inhibition after the first (12.6% ± 10.0%,
P < .001) and second (15.2% ± 9.7%,
P < .001) exercise sets compared with baseline (9.6% ± 9.3%). However, quadriceps inhibition was not different between groups.
Conclusions: Persons with a history of LBP do not appear to be any more or less vulnerable to quadriceps inhibition after fatiguing lumbar extension exercise.
superimposed burst technique; neuromuscular activity; knee
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
The purpose of this study was to determine the contribution of hamstrings and quadriceps fatigue to quadriceps inhibition following lumbar extension exercise. Regression models were calculated consisting of the outcome variable: quadriceps inhibition and predictor variables: change in EMG median frequency in the quadriceps and hamstrings during lumbar fatiguing exercise. Twenty-five subjects with a history of low back pain were matched by gender, height and mass to 25 healthy controls. Subjects performed two sets of fatiguing isometric lumbar extension exercise until mild (set 1) and moderate (set 2) fatigue of the lumbar paraspinals. Quadriceps and hamstring EMG median frequency were measured while subjects performed fatiguing exercise. A burst of electrical stimuli was superimposed while subjects performed an isometric maximal quadriceps contraction to estimate quadriceps inhibition after each exercise set. Results indicate the change in hamstring median frequency explained variance in quadriceps inhibition following the exercise sets in the history of low back pain group only. Change in quadriceps median frequency explained variance in quadriceps inhibition following the first exercise set in the control group only. In conclusion, persons with a history of low back pain whose quadriceps become inhibited following lumbar paraspinal exercise may be adapting to the fatigue by using their hamstring muscles more than controls.
Key PointsA neuromuscular relationship between the lumbar paraspinals and quadriceps while performing lumbar extension exercise may be influenced by hamstring muscle fatigue.QI following lumbar extension exercise in persons with a history of LBP group may involve significant contribution from the hamstring muscle group.More hamstring muscle contribution may be a necessary adaptation in the history of LBP group due to weaker and more fatigable lumbar extensors.
Superimposed burst technique; electromyography; spectral median frequency; correlation and regression; low back pain
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
The flexion-relaxation phenomenon (FRP) is defined by reduced lumbar erector spinae (ES) muscle myoelectric activity during full trunk flexion. The objectives of this study were to quantify the effect of hip and back extensor muscle fatigue on FRP parameters and lumbopelvic kinematics.
Twenty-seven healthy adults performed flexion-extension tasks under 4 different experimental conditions: no fatigue/no load, no fatigue/load, fatigue/no load, and fatigue/load. Total flexion angle corresponding to the onset and cessation of myoelectric silence, hip flexion angle, lumbar flexion angle and maximal trunk flexion angle were compared across different experimental conditions by 2 × 2 (Load × Fatigue) repeated-measures ANOVA.
The angle corresponding to the ES onset of myoelectric silence was reduced after the fatigue task, and loading the spine decreased the lumbar contribution to motion compared to the hip during both flexion and extension. A relative increment of lumbar spine motion compared to pelvic motion was also observed in fatigue conditions.
Previous results suggested that ES muscles, in a state of fatigue, are unable to provide sufficient segmental stabilization. The present findings indicate that, changes in lumbar-stabilizing mechanisms in the presence of muscle fatigue seem to be caused by modulation of lumbopelvic kinematics.
The tibialis posterior muscle is believed to play a key role in controlling foot mechanics during the stance phase of gait. However, an experiment involving localised tibialis posterior muscle fatigue, and analysis of discrete rearfoot and forefoot kinematic variables, indicated that reduced force output of the tibialis posterior muscle did not alter rearfoot and forefoot motion during gait. Thus, to better understand how muscle fatigue affects foot kinematics and injury potential, the purpose of this study was to reanalyze the data and investigate shank, rearfoot and forefoot joint coupling and coupling variability during walking.
Twenty-nine participants underwent an exercise fatigue protocol aimed at reducing the force output of tibialis posterior. An eight camera motion analysis system was used to evaluate 3 D shank and foot joint coupling and coupling variability during treadmill walking both pre- and post-fatigue.
The fatigue protocol was successful in reducing the maximal isometric force by over 30% and a concomitant increase in coupling motion of the shank in the transverse plane and forefoot in the sagittal and transverse planes relative to frontal plane motion of the rearfoot. In addition, an increase in joint coupling variability was measured between the shank and rearfoot and between the rearfoot and forefoot during the fatigue condition.
The reduced function of the tibialis posterior muscle following fatigue resulted in a disruption in typical shank and foot joint coupling patterns and an increased variability in joint coupling. These results could help explain tibialis posterior injury aetiology.
Females have a higher risk of experiencing low back pain or injury than males. One possible reason for this might be altered reflexes since longer paraspinal reflex latencies exist in injured patients versus healthy controls. Gender differences have been reported in paraspinal reflex latency, yet findings are inconsistent. The goal here was to investigate gender differences in paraspinal reflex latency, avoiding and accounting for potentially gender-confounding experimental factors.
Ten males and ten females underwent repeated trunk flexion perturbations. Paraspinal muscle activity and trunk kinematics were recorded to calculate reflex latency and maximum trunk flexion velocity. Two-way mixed model ANOVAs were used to determine the effects of gender on reflex latency and maximum trunk flexion velocity.
Reflex latency was 18.7% shorter in females than in males (P=0.02) when exposed to identical trunk perturbations, and did not vary by impulse (P=0.38). However, maximum trunk flexion velocity was 35.3% faster in females than males (P=0.01) when exposed to identical trunk perturbations, and increased with impulse (P<0.01). While controlling for differences in maximum trunk flexion velocity, reflex latency was 16.4% shorter in females than males (P=0.04).
The higher prevalence of low back pain and injury among females does not appear to result from slower paraspinal reflexes.
Gender; Paraspinal; Reflex Latency; Spinal Stability Control; Trunk Perturbations; Kinematics; Low Back Pain; Low Back Injury; Female; Male
We investigated back muscle fatigue and endurance in patients with lumbar disc herniation before and after surgery, and established the degree of association between perceived fatigue and objectively measured fatigue. Additionally, the relationships between muscle fatigue and endurance time on the one hand, and activity, participation, self-efficacy and health on the other, were investigated to clarify the grades of association between these factors. Forty-three consecutive patients with lumbar disc herniation were tested before surgery and 4 weeks after surgery. The protocol comprised an isometric endurance test (modified Sørensen’s test) with concomitant measures of electromyography, and Borg ratings of pain and fatigue. To measure activity, participation, self-efficacy and health, the patients also filled in questionnaires. Results showed a post-operatively significant improvement in lumbar muscle fatigue expressed as a flatter L5 slope for the men. No significant improvement was found for endurance times or for Borg ratings. Endurance time correlated with questionnaire answers on physical activity, the Roland–Morris, the Oswestry, self-efficacy and some items of the SF-36 with correlation coefficients ranging from 0.52 to 0.91. The L5 slope correlated with the Roland–Morris, the Oswestry and some items of the SF-36 only in women with correlation coefficients between 0.53 and 0.77. We conclude that the effects of surgery reduced muscle fatigue for the men. There is an association between muscle fatigue and endurance with activity limitations, participation restrictions, self-efficacy and health in patients undergoing surgery for lumbar disc herniation.
Electromyography; Endurance; Lumbar disc herniation; Muscle fatigue; Subjective factors
Findings on imaging of noncontractile anatomic abnormalities and the intensity of low back pain have weak associations because of false-positive rates among asymptomatic individuals. This association might be stronger for contractile tissues.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between location and reports of pain intensity in the low back and exercise-induced muscle damage to the lumbar paraspinal muscles.
Nondiagnostic observational study in a laboratory setting.
Delayed onset muscle soreness was induced in the low back of healthy pain-free volunteers. Measures of pain intensity (100-mm visual analog scale [VAS]) and location (area on the pain diagram) were taken before and 48 hours after exercise. Muscle damage was quantified using mechanical pain thresholds, motor performance deficits, and transverse relaxation time (T2)–weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Changes pre- to postexercise in signal intensity on T2-weighted imaging within the erector spinae, pain intensity, pain area, mechanical pain threshold, and isometric torque were assessed using paired t tests. Bivariate correlations were conducted to assess associations among muscle damage, pain intensity, and pain drawing area.
Twenty participants volunteered (11 women; average age, 22.3 years; average body mass index, 23.5) for study participation. Reports of pain intensity at 48 hours ranged from 0 to 59 mm on the VAS. Muscle damage was confirmed by reductions in mechanical threshold (p=.011) and motor performance (p<.001) and by changes in T2-weighted MRI (p=.007). This study was powered to find an association of at least r=0.5 to be statistically significant. Correlations of continuous variables revealed no significant correlations between pain intensity and measures of muscle damage (ranging between −0.075 and 0.151). There was a significant association between the remaining torque deficit at 48 hours and pain area.
The results of this study indicate that there was no association between the magnitude of muscle damage in the lumbar erector spinae and reported pain intensity in the low back. In future studies, larger cohorts may report statistically significant associations, but our data suggest that there will be low magnitude potentially indicating limited clinical relevance.
Spinal disorders; Imaging; Referred pain
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of localised tibialis posterior muscle fatigue on foot kinematics during walking. It was hypothesised that following fatigue, subjects would demonstrate greater forefoot and rearfoot motion during walking. It was also postulated that the magnitude of the change in rearfoot motion would be associated with standing anatomical rearfoot posture.
Twenty-nine subjects underwent an exercise fatigue protocol aimed at reducing the force output of tibialis posterior. An eight camera motion analysis system was used to evaluate 3D foot kinematics during treadmill walking both pre- and post-fatigue. The anatomical rearfoot angle was measured during standing prior to the fatigue protocol using a goniometer.
Peak rearfoot eversion remained unchanged following the fatigue protocol. Although increases in rearfoot eversion excursion were observed following fatigue, these changes were of a magnitude of questionable clinical significance (<1.0°). The magnitude of the change in rearfoot eversion due to fatigue was not associated with the anatomical measurement of standing rearfoot angle. No substantial changes in forefoot kinematics were observed following the fatigue protocol.
These data indicate that reduced force output of the tibialis posterior muscle did not alter rearfoot and forefoot motion during gait. The anatomical structure of the rearfoot was not associated with the dependence of muscular activity that an individual requires to maintain normal rearfoot kinematics during gait.
Patients with chronic non-specific low back pain (LBP) walk with more synchronous (in-phase) horizontal pelvis and thorax rotations than controls. Low thorax–pelvis relative phase in these patients appears to result from in-phase motion of the thorax with the legs, which was hypothesized to affect arm swing. In the present study, gait kinematics were compared between LBP patients with lumbar disc herniation and healthy controls during treadmill walking at different speeds and with different step lengths. Movements of legs, arms, and trunk were recorded. The patients walked with larger pelvis rotations than healthy controls, and with lower relative phase between pelvis and thorax horizontal rotations, specifically when taking large steps. They did so by rotating the thorax more in-phase with the pendular movements of the legs, thereby limiting the amplitudes of spine rotation. In the patients, arm swing was out-of phase with the leg, as in controls. Consequently, the phase relationship between thorax rotations and arm swing was altered in the patients.
Gait coordination; Trunk movements; Relative phase; Low back pain; Arm swing
To investigate the prognostic value of cross-sectional areas (CSA) of paraspinal (multifidus and erector spinae) and psoas muscles on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in chronicity of low back pain.
Thirty-eight subjects who visited our hospital for acute low back pain were enrolled. Review of their medical records and telephone interviews were done. Subjects were divided into two groups; chronic back pain group (CBP) and a group showing improvement within 6 months after onset of pain (IBP). The CSA of paraspinal and psoas muscles were obtained at the level of the lower margin of L3 and L5 vertebrae using MRI.
CSA of erector spinae muscle and the proportion of the area to lumbar muscles (paraspinal and psoas muscles) at L5 level in the CBP group were significantly smaller than that of the IBP group (p<0.05). The mean value of CSA of multifidus muscle at L5 level in the CBP group was smaller than that of the IBP group, but was not statistically significant (p>0.05). CSA of psoas muscle at L5 level and all values measured at L3 level were not significantly different between the groups (p>0.05).
CSA of erector spinae muscle at the lower lumbar level and the proportion of the area to the lumbar muscles at the L5 level can be considered to be prognostic factors of chronicity of low back pain.
Low back pain; Magnetic resonance imaging; Cross-sectional area; Muscles
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
OBJECTIVES—Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome
complain of physical and mental fatigue that is worsened by exertion.
It was predicted that the cognitive and motor responses to vigorous
exercise in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome would differ from
those in depressed and healthy controls.
METHODS—Ten patients with chronic fatigue
syndrome, 10 with depressive illness, and 10 healthy controls completed
cognitive and muscle strength testing before and after a treadmill
exercise test. Measures of cardiovascular functioning and perceived
effort, fatigue, and mood were taken during each stage of testing.
RESULTS—Depressed patients performed worst on
cognitive tests at baseline. During the treadmill test, patients with
chronic fatigue syndrome had higher ratings of perceived effort and
fatigue than both control groups, whereas patients with depression
reported lower mood. After exertion, patients with chronic fatigue
syndrome showed a greater decrease than healthy controls on everyday
tests of focused (p=0.02) and sustained (p=0.001) attention, as well as
greater deterioration than depressed patients on the focused attention
task (p=0.03). No between group differences were found in
cardiovascular or symptom measures taken during the cognitive testing.
CONCLUSIONS—Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome
show a specific sensitivity to the effects of exertion on effortful
cognitive functioning. This occurs despite subjective and objective
evidence of effort allocation in chronic fatigue syndrome, suggesting
that patients have reduced working memory capacity, or a greater demand
to monitor cognitive processes, or both. Further insight into the
pathophysiology of the core complaints in chronic fatigue syndrome is
likely to be realised by studying the effects of exercise on other
aspects of everyday functioning.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and image processing software to determine the functional cross-sectional area (FCSA) (the area of muscle isolated from fat) of the lumbar paraspinal muscles. The measurement of the morphology of the lumbar paraspinal muscles has become the focus of several recent investigations into the aetiology of low back pain. However, the reliability and validity of determining the FCSA of the lumbar paraspinal muscles using MR imaging are yet to be reported. T2 axial MR scans at the L1-S1 spinal levels of six subjects were obtained using identical MR systems and scanning parameters. Lean paraspinal muscle, vertebral body bone and intermuscular fat were manually segmented using image analysis software to assign a grey scale range to the MR signal intensity emitted by each tissue type. The resultant grey scale range for muscle was used to determine FCSA measurements for each of the paraspinal muscles, psoas, quadratus lumborum, erector spinae and lumbar multifidus on each scan slice. As various biological, instrument and measurement factors can affect MR signal intensity, a sensitivity analysis was conducted to determine the error associated in calculating FCSA for paraspinal muscle using a discrete grey scale range. Cross-sectional area and FCSA measurements were repeated three times and reliability indices for the FCSA measurements were obtained, showing excellent reliability, intra class correlation coefficient (mean=0.97, range 0.90–0.99) and %SEM (mean=2.6%, range 0.7–4.8%). In addition, the error associated with miscalculation of the grey scale range for the MR signal intensity of muscle was calculated and found to be low with an error of 20 grey scale units at the upper end of the muscle’s grey scale range resulting in a very small error in the measured muscle FCSA. The method presented in this paper has a variety of practical applications in areas such as evidence-based rehabilitation, biomechanical modelling and the determination of segmental inertial parameters.
Lumbar spine; Magnetic resonance imaging; Cross sectional area; Low back pain; Muscle morphology
It is known that the back muscles of scoliotic subjects present abnormalities in their fiber type composition. Some researchers have hypothesized that abnormal fiber composition can lead to paraspinal muscle dysfunction such as poor neuromuscular efficiency and muscle fatigue. EMG parameters were used to evaluate these impairments. The purpose of the present study was to examine the clinical potential of different EMG parameters such as amplitude (RMS) and median frequency (MF) of the power spectrum in order to assess the back muscles of patients presenting idiopathic scoliosis in terms of their neuromuscular efficiency and their muscular fatigue.
L5/S1 moments during isometric efforts in extension were measured in six subjects with idiopathic scoliosis and ten healthy controls. The subjects performed three 7 s ramp contractions ranging from 0 to 100% maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) and one 30 s sustained contraction at 75% MVC. Surface EMG activity was recorded bilaterally from the paraspinal muscles at L5, L3, L1 and T10. The slope of the EMG RMS/force (neuromuscular efficiency) and MF/force (muscle composition) relationships were computed during the ramp contractions while the slope of the EMG RMS/time and MF/time relationships (muscle fatigue) were computed during the sustained contraction. Comparisons were performed between the two groups and between the left and right sides for the EMG parameters.
No significant group or side differences between the slopes of the different measures used were found at the level of the apex (around T10) of the major curve of the spine. However, a significant side difference was seen at a lower level (L3, p = 0.01) for the MF/time parameter.
The EMG parameters used in this study could not discriminate between the back muscles of scoliotic subjects and those of control subject regarding fiber type composition, neuromuscular efficiency and muscle fatigue at the level of the apex. The results of this pilot study indicate that compensatory strategies are potentially seen at lower level of the spine with these EMG parameters.
EMG; scoliosis; neuromuscular efficiency; muscle fatigue
This study examines how lower extremity fatigue of the quadriceps alters gait variables related to slip propensity. Sixteen healthy young adults were recruited to walk across vinyl floor surfaces in states of fatigue and no fatigue. Kinematic and kinetic data were collected using a three-dimensional motion analysis system and force plates. The results indicated a significant increase in both the heel contact velocity and required coefficient of friction and a decrease in the transitional acceleration of the whole body center of mass and peak knee joint moment in the fatigue trials. Thus, suggesting that slip propensity could increase with fatigue. Additionally, there was increased knee flexion and reduced ankle dorsiflexion at the heel contact phase of the gait cycle during fatigue trials. These findings provide new insights into the biomechanical relationship between localized muscle fatigue and gait parameters associated with slip propensity. The present study concluded that localized muscle fatigue affects gait parameters and hence can be considered as a potential risk factor for slip-induced falls.
Several investigators have suggested that passive tissue characteristics of the lumbar region may be altered in people with low back pain. Passive stiffness of the lumbar region has been examined during physiological movements in healthy individuals and intersegmental spine mobility and stiffness have been examined in people with and people without low back pain. However, no investigators have examined differences in passive tissue characteristics of the lumbar region during a physiological movement between people with and people without low back pain.
Subjects were moved passively through a trunk lateral bending motion on a passive movement device. Lumbar region kinematics were measured with a motion capture system and force required to move the subject was measured with a force transducer. Lumbar region extensibility was defined as the maximum excursion of the lumbar region. Passive elastic energy was defined as the area under the torque-lumbar region angle curve. Differences in lumbar region extensibility and passive elastic energy between sides were examined in people with and people without low back pain (n = 41).
People in the Rotation with Extension low back pain subgroup demonstrated greater asymmetry of passive elastic energy than people without low back pain (P = 0.04). There were no differences between groups in symmetry of lumbar region extensibility (P = 0.37).
Asymmetry in passive elastic energy of the lumbar region may be related to the low back pain problem in the Rotation with Extension subgroup. The asymmetry in passive elastic energy may be associated with asymmetry of loading on the spine, which has been reported to be a risk factor for low back pain. Thus, it may be important to consider the asymmetry when planning an intervention strategy for people in the Rotation with Extension subgroup.
low back pain; passive; trunk lateral bending; stiffness
Vibration is known to alter proprioceptive afferents and create a tonic vibration reflex. The control of force and its variability are often considered determinants of motor performance and neuromuscular control. However, the effect of vibration on paraspinal muscle control and force production remains to be determined.
Twenty-one healthy adults were asked to perform isometric trunk flexion and extension torque at 60% of their maximal voluntary isometric contraction, under three different vibration conditions: no vibration, vibration frequencies of 30 Hz and 80 Hz. Eighteen isometric contractions were performed under each condition without any feedback. Mechanical vibrations were applied bilaterally over the lumbar erector spinae muscles while participants were in neutral standing position. Time to peak torque (TPT), variable error (VE) as well as constant error (CE) and absolute error (AE) in peak torque were calculated and compared between conditions.
The main finding suggests that erector spinae muscle vibration significantly decreases the accuracy in a trunk extension isometric force reproduction task. There was no difference between both vibration frequencies with regard to force production parameters. Antagonist muscles do not seem to be directly affected by vibration stimulation when performing a trunk isometric task.
The results suggest that acute erector spinae muscle vibration interferes with torque generation sequence of the trunk by distorting proprioceptive information in healthy participants.
Muscle vibration; Muscle spindle; Low back; Neuromuscular responses; Isometric force; Proprioception; Erector spinae muscles
The effect of low back pain, with or without nerve root signs, on the joint coordination and kinematics of the lumbar spine and hips during everyday activities, such as picking up an object from the floor, are largely unknown. An experimental study was designed to compare lumbar spine and hip joint kinematics and coordination in subjects with and without sub-acute low back pain, while picking up an object in a sitting position. A three-dimensional real-time electromagnetic tracking device was used to measure movements of the lumbar spine and hips. Sixty participants with subacute low back pain, with or without straight leg raise signs, and twenty healthy asymptomatic participants were recruited. The ranges of motions of lumbar spine and hips were determined. Movement coordination between the two regions was examined by cross-correlation. Results showed that mobility was significantly reduced in subjects with back pain, who compensated for limited motion through various strategies. The contribution of the lumbar spine relative to that of the hip was, however, found to be similar in all groups. The lumbar spine–hip joint coordination was substantially altered in subjects with back pain, in particular, those with a positive straight leg raise sign. We conclude that changes in the lumbar and hip kinematics were related to back pain and limitation in straight leg raise. Lumbar–hip coordination was mainly affected by the presence of positive straight leg raise sign when picking up an object in a sitting position.
Kinematics; Spine; Low back pain; Hip; Activities of daily living; Joint coordination
In this study, we compared the paramedian interfascial approach (PIA) and the traditional midline approach (MA) for lumbar fusion to determine which approach resulted in the least amount of postoperative back muscle atrophy. We performed unilateral transforaminal posterior lumbar interbody fusion via MA on the symptomatic side and pedicle screw fixation via PIA on the other side in the same patient. We evaluated the damage to the paraspinal muscle after MA and PIA by measuring the preoperative and postoperative paraspinal muscle volume in 26 patients. The preoperative and postoperative cross-sectional area, thickness, and width of the multifidus muscle were measured by computed tomography. The degree of postoperative paraspinal muscle atrophy was significantly greater on the MA side than on the contralateral PIA side (-20.7% and -4.8%, respectively, p<0.01). In conclusion, the PIA for lumbar fusion yielded successful outcomes for the preservation of paraspinal muscle in these 26 patients. We suggest that the success of PIA is due to less manipulation and retraction of the paraspinal muscle and further studies on this technique may help confirm whether less muscle injury has positive effects on the long-term clinical outcome.
Paraspinal Muscle; Paramedian Approach; Muscle Atrophy; Lumbar Spine
The purpose of this study was to systematically review the available evidence on lumbar paraspinal compartment syndrome with specific reference to patient demographics, aetiology, types, diagnosis, clinical features, and treatment. This was an Institutional Review Board-exempt study performed at a Level 1 trauma center. A PubMed search was conducted with the title query: lumbar paraspinal compartment syndrome. Eleven articles met our search criteria. Three of the patients with acute paraspinal compartmental syndrome treated with fasciotomy had a full recovery and were able to resume skiing after four months. The aetiology of the onset of lumbar paraspinal compartment syndrome is broadly divided into acute and chronic. Lumbar paraspinal compartment syndrome is one of the causes of back pain with diagnostic clinical features which should be considered in the differential diagnosis of a patient with low back pain. Prospective multicentre trials may provide the surgeon with more insight into the diagnosis and management of lumbar paraspinal compartment syndrome.
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
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.
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