Side bridge endurance protocols have been suggested to evaluate lateral trunk flexor and/or spine stabilizer muscles. To date, no study has investigated muscle recruitment and fatigability during these protocols. Therefore the purpose of our study was to quantify fatigue parameters in various trunk muscles during a modified side bridge endurance task (i.e. a lateral isometric hold test on a 45° roman chair apparatus) and determine which primary trunk muscles get fatigued during this task. It was hypothesized that the ipsilateral external oblique and lumbar erector spinae muscles will exhibit the highest fatigue indices.
Twenty-two healthy subjects participated in this study. The experimental session included left and right lateral isometric hold tasks preceded and followed by 3 maximal voluntary contractions in the same position. Surface electromyography (EMG) recordings were obtained bilaterally from the external oblique, rectus abdominis, and L2 and L5 erector spinae. Statistical analysis were conducted to compare the right and left maximal voluntary contractions (MVC), surface EMG activities, right vs. left holding times and decay rate of the median frequency as the percent change from the initial value (NMFslope).
No significant left and right lateral isometric hold tests differences were observed neither for holding times (97.2 ± 21.5 sec and 96.7 ± 24.9 sec respectively) nor for pre and post fatigue root mean square during MVCs. However, participants showed significant decreases of MVCs between pre and post fatigue measurements for both the left and right lateral isometric hold tests. Statistical analysis showed that a significantly NMFslope of the ipsilateral external oblique during both conditions, and a NMFslope of the contralateral L5 erector spinae during the left lateral isometric hold test were steeper than those of the other side’s respective muscles. Although some participants presented positive NMFslope for some muscles, each muscle presented a mean negative NMFslope significantly different from 0.
Although the fatigue indices suggest that the ipsilateral external oblique and contralateral L5 erector spinae show signs of muscle fatigue, this task seems to recruit a large group of trunk muscles. Clinicians should not view this task as evaluating specifically lateral trunk flexors, but rather as providing an indication of the general endurance and stabilisation capacity of the trunk.
Side bridge test; Muscle fatigue; Trunk muscle; Functional testing
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
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.
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
The goal of this paper was to determine if trunk antagonist activation is associated with impaired neuromuscular performance. To test this theory, we used two methods to impair neuromuscular control: strenuous exertions and fatigue. Force variability (standard deviation of force signal) was assessed for graded isometric trunk exertions (10, 20, 40, 60, 80 % of max) in flexion and extension, and at the start and end of a trunk extensor fatiguing trial. Normalized EMG signals for five trunk muscle pairs (RA – rectus abdominis, EO – external oblique, IO – internal oblique, TE – thoracic erector spinae, and LE – lumbar erector spinae) were collected for each graded exertion, and at the start and end of a trunk extensor fatiguing trial. Force variability increased for more strenuous exertions in both flexion (p<.001) and extension (p<.001), and after extensor fatigue (p<.012). In the flexion direction, both antagonist muscles (TE & LE) increased activation for more strenuous exertions (p<.001). In the extension direction, all antagonist muscles except RA increased activation for more strenuous exertions (p<.05) and following fatigue (p<.01). These data demonstrate a strong relationship between force variability and antagonistic muscle activation, irrespective of where this variability comes from. Such antagonistic co-activation increases trunk stiffness with the possible objective of limiting kinematic disturbances due to greater force variability.
Isometric trunk exertion; Trunk muscle recruitment; Force variability; Fatigue; Spine stability
Patients with symptomatic femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) have considerable hip muscle weakness, in particular, hip flexion and hip adduction. In addition, they experience disabilities while performing prolonged dynamic tasks. It was therefore postulated that, besides hip flexor muscle weakness, patients with symptomatic FAI would show greater hip flexor fatigue compared with healthy controls.
Hip flexor fatigue was evaluated in two different experiments. Fifteen patients with symptomatic FAI and 15 age-matched healthy controls were tested in each experiment. In the first one, changes in hip flexor torque fluctuations and electromyographic (EMG) activity were measured during a sustained submaximal isometric contraction. In the second experiment, hip flexor torque decline was measured during a series of 20 maximal dynamic contractions.
Patients with FAI exhibited hip flexor weakness under both isometric (P = 0.02) and isokinetic conditions (P = 0.03). Fatigue-induced changes in isometric hip flexor torque fluctuations, EMG root mean square and median frequency did not differ significantly between patients and controls (P > 0.05). Similarly, isokinetic hip flexor torque decline was comparable in patients with FAI and controls (P > 0.05).
None of the hip flexor fatigue outcomes considered here differed between patients with symptomatic FAI and controls. Therefore, the disabilities that patients experience while performing prolonged dynamic tasks do not seem to be caused by exaggerated hip flexor muscle fatigue.
Medicine & Public Health; Orthopedics
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
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
Pushing and pulling tasks account for 20% of occupational low-back injury claims. Primary torso muscle groups recruited during pushing tasks include rectus abdominis and the external obliques. However, analyses suggest that antagonistic co-contraction of the para spinal muscles is necessary to stabilize the spine during flexion exertions. The study quantified co-contraction and spinal load differences during isometric flexion and extension exertions. The goal was to provide insight into the mechanisms requiring greater co-contraction during trunk flexion exertions compared to extension exertions.
Electromyographic (EMG) signals were recorded from the trunk muscles of healthy volunteers during isometric trunk flexion and extension exertions. A biomechanical model was implemented to estimate total muscle force from the measured EMG and trunk moment data. A similar model estimated the muscle forces necessary to achieve equilibrium while minimizing the sum of squared muscle forces. The difference in these forces represented co-contraction. Spinal load attributed to co-contraction was computed.
Average co-contraction during flexion exertions was approximately twice the value of co-contraction during extension, i.e. 28% and 13% of total muscle forces respectively. Co-contraction accounted for up to 47% of the total spinal load during flexion exertions. Consequently, spinal compression during the flexion tasks was nearly 50% greater than during extension exertions despite similar levels of trunk moment.
Co-contraction must be considered when evaluating spinal load during pushing exertions. Results underscore the need to consider neuromuscular control of spinal stability when evaluating the biomechanical risks.
Low-back; Spine; Co-contraction; push
Abnormal coactivation of leg extensors is often observed on the paretic side of stroke patients while they attempt to move. The mechanisms underlying this coactivation are not well understood. This study (1) compares the coactivation of leg extensors during static contractions in stroke and healthy individuals, and (2) assesses whether this coactivation is related to changes in intersegmental pathways between quadriceps and soleus (Sol) muscles after stroke.
Thirteen stroke patients and ten healthy individuals participated in the study. Levels of coactivation of knee extensors and ankle extensors were measured in sitting position, during two tasks: maximal isometric voluntary contractions in knee extension and in plantarflexion. The early facilitation and later inhibition of soleus voluntary EMG evoked by femoral nerve stimulation were assessed in the paretic leg of stroke participants and in one leg of healthy participants.
Coactivation levels of ankle extensors (mean ± SEM: 56 ± 7% of Sol EMG max) and of knee extensors (52 ± 10% of vastus lateralis (VL) EMG max) during the knee extension and the ankle extension tasks respectively were significantly higher in the paretic leg of stroke participants than in healthy participants (26 ± 5% of Sol EMG max and 10 ± 3% of VL EMG max, respectively). Early heteronymous facilitation of Sol voluntary EMG in stroke participants (340 ± 62% of Sol unconditioned EMG) was significantly higher than in healthy participants (98 ± 34%). The later inhibition observed in all control participants was decreased in the paretic leg. Levels of coactivation of ankle extensors during the knee extension task were significantly correlated with both the increased facilitation (Pearson r = 0.59) and the reduced inhibition (r = 0.56) in the paretic leg. Measures of motor impairment were more consistently correlated with the levels of coactivation of biarticular muscles than those of monoarticular muscles.
These results suggest that the heteronymous pathways linking quadriceps to soleus may participate in the abnormal coactivation of knee and ankle extensors on the paretic side of stroke patients. The motor impairment of the paretic leg is strongly associated with the abnormal coactivation of biarticular muscles.
Hemiparesis; Extension synergy; Sensory afferents; Isometric strength; Spinal Circuits; Propriospinal
In humans, we tested the hypothesis that a flat interface nerve electrode (FINE) placed around the femoral nerve trunk can selectively stimulate each muscle the nerve innervates. In a series of intraoperative trials during routine vascular surgeries, an eight-contact FINE was placed around the femoral nerve between the inguinal ligament and the first nerve branching point. The capability of the FINE to selectively recruit muscles innervated by the femoral nerve was assessed with electromyograms (EMGs) of the twitch responses to electrical stimulation. At least four of the six muscles innervated by the femoral nerve were independently and selectively recruited in all subjects. Of these, at least one muscle was a hip flexor and at least two were knee extensors. Results from the intraoperative experiments were used to estimate the potential for the electrode to restore knee extension and hip flexion through functional electrical stimulation. Normalized EMGs and biomechanical simulations were used to estimate joint moments and functional efficacy. Estimated knee extension moments exceed the threshold required for the sit-to-stand transition.
As the older adult population increases, the potential functional and clinical burden of trunk muscle dysfunction may be significant. An evaluation of risk factors including the impact of the trunk muscles in terms of their temporal firing patterns, amplitudes of activation, and contribution to spinal stability is required. Therefore, the specific purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of measuring the activation of trunk muscles in healthy older adults during specific leg exercises with trunk stabilization.
12 asymptomatic adults 65 to 75 years of age were included in the study. Participants performed a series of trunk stability exercises, while bilateral activation of abdominal and back extensor muscles was recorded by 24 pairs of Meditrace™ surface electrodes. Maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVIC) were performed for electromyographic (EMG) normalization purposes. EMG waveforms were generated and amplitude measures as a percentage of MVIC were calculated along with ensemble average profiles. 3D kinematics data were also recorded, using an electromagnetic sensor placed at the left lateral iliac crest. Furthermore, a qualitative assessment was conducted to establish the participant's ability to complete all experimental tasks.
Excellent quality abdominal muscle activation data were recorded during the tasks. Participants performed the trunk stability exercises with an unsteady, intermittent motion, but were able to keep pelvic motion to less than 10°. The EMG amplitudes showed that during these exercises, on average, the older adults recruited their abdominal muscles from 15–34% of MVIC and back extensors to less than 10% of MVIC. There were similarities among the abdominal muscle profiles. No participants reported pain during the testing session, although 3 (25%) of the participants reported delayed onset muscle soreness during follow up that was not functionally limiting.
Older adults were able to successfully complete the trunk stability protocol that was developed for younger adults with some minor modifications. The collected EMG amplitudes were higher than those reported in the literature for young healthy adults. The temporal waveforms for the abdominal muscles showed a degree of synchrony among muscles, except for the early activation from the internal oblique prior to lifting the leg off the table.
Many musculoskeltal injuries in the workplace have been attributed to the repetitive loading of muscle and soft tissues. It is not disputed that muscular fatigue is a risk factor for musculoskeltal injury, however the disparity between gender with respect to muscular fatigability and rate of recovery is not well understood. Current health and safety guidelines do not account for sex differences in fatiguability and may be predisposing one gender to greater risk. The purpose of this study was to quantify the sex differences in fatigue development and recovery rate of lower and upper body musculature after repeated bouts of sustained isometric contractions.
Twenty-seven healthy males (n = 12) and females (n = 15) underwent bilateral localized fatigue of either the knee extensors (male: n = 8; female: n = 8), elbow flexors (male: n = 8; female: n = 10), or both muscle groups. The fatigue protocol consisted of ten 30-second sub-maximal isometric contractions. The changes in maximum voluntary contraction (MVC), electrically evoked twitches, and motor unit activation (MUA) were assessed along with the ability to control the sustained contractions (SLP) during the fatigue protocol using a mixed four-factor repeated measures ANOVA (gender × side × muscle × time) design with significance set at p < 0.05.
There was a significant loss of MVC, MUA, and evoked twitch amplitude from pre- to post-fatigue in both the arms and legs. Males had greater relative loss of isometric force, a higher rate of fatigue development, and were less capable of maintaining the fatiguing contractions in the legs when compared to the females.
The nature of the induced fatigue was a combination of central and peripheral fatigue that did not fully recover over a 45-minute period. The results appear to reflect sex differences that are peripheral, and partially support the muscle mass hypothesis for explaining differences in muscular fatigue.
The flexion relaxation phenomenon (FRP) is an interesting model to study the modulation of lumbar stability. Previous investigations have explored the effect of load, angular velocity and posture on this particular response. However, the influence of muscular fatigue on FRP parameters has not been thoroughly examined. The objective of the study is to identify the effect of erector spinae (ES) muscle fatigue and spine loading on myoelectric silence onset and cessation in healthy individuals during a flexion-extension task.
Twenty healthy subjects participated in this study and performed blocks of 3 complete trunk flexions under 4 different experimental conditions: no fatigue/no load (1), no fatigue/load (2), fatigue/no load(3), and fatigue/load (4). Fatigue was induced according to the Sorenson protocol, and electromyographic (EMG) power spectral analysis confirmed that muscular fatigue was adequate in each subject. Trunk and pelvis angles and surface EMG of the ES L2 and L5 were recorded during a flexion-extension task. Trunk flexion angle corresponding to the onset and cessation of myoelectric silence was then compared across the different experimental conditions using 2 × 2 repeated-measures ANOVA.
Onset of myoelectric silence during the flexion motion appeared earlier after the fatigue task. Additionally, the cessation of myoelectric silence was observed later during the extension after the fatigue task. Statistical analysis also yielded a main effect of load, indicating a persistence of ES myoelectric activity in flexion during the load condition.
The results of this study suggest that the presence of fatigue of the ES muscles modifies the FRP. Superficial back muscle fatigue seems to induce a shift in load-sharing towards passive stabilizing structures. The loss of muscle contribution together with or without laxity in the viscoelastic tissues may have a substantial impact on post fatigue stability.
This study investigates the effects of eccentric exercise and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) of the quadriceps on agonist–antagonist activity during a range of motor tasks. Ten healthy volunteers (age, mean ± SD, 24.9 ± 3.2 years) performed maximum voluntary contractions (MVC) and explosive isometric contractions of the knee extensors followed by isometric contractions at 2.5, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 30% MVC at baseline, immediately after and 24 h after eccentric exercise of the quadriceps. During each task, force of the knee extensors and surface EMG of the vasti and hamstrings muscles were recorded concurrently. Rate of force development (RFD) was computed from the explosive isometric contraction, and the coefficient of variation of the force (CoV) signal was estimated from the submaximal contractions. Twenty-four hours after exercise, the subjects rated their perceived pain intensity as 4.1 ± 1.2 (score out of 10). The maximum RFD and MVC of the knee extensors was reduced immediately post- and 24 h after eccentric exercise compared to baseline (average across both time points: 19.1 ± 17.1% and 11.9 ± 9.8% lower, respectively, P < 0.05). The CoV for force during the submaximal contractions was greater immediately after eccentric exercise (up to 66% higher than baseline, P < 0.001) and remained higher 24 h post-exercise during the presence of DOMS (P < 0.01). For the explosive and MVC tasks, the EMG amplitude of the vasti muscles decreased immediately after exercise and was accompanied by increased antagonist EMG for the explosive contraction only. On the contrary, reduced force steadiness was accompanied by a general increase in EMG amplitude of the vasti muscles and was accompanied by increased antagonist activity, but only at higher force levels (>15% MVC). This study shows that eccentric exercise and subsequent DOMS of the quadriceps reduce the maximal force, rate of force development and force steadiness of the knee extensors, and is accompanied by different adjustments of agonist and antagonist muscle activities.
Delayed onset muscle soreness; Eccentric exercise; Muscle damage
Muscle fatigue is associated with a number of clinical diseases, including chronic pain conditions. Decreases in extracellular pH activates acid-sensing ion channel 3 (ASIC3), depolarizes muscle, protects against fatigue, and produces pain. We examined whether ASIC3-/- mice were more fatigable than ASIC3+/+ mice in a task-dependent manner. We developed two exercise protocols to measure exercise-induced muscle fatigue: ( fatigue task 1, three 1-h runs; fatigue task 2, three 30-min runs). In fatigue task 1, male ASIC3+/+ mice muscle showed less fatigue than male ASIC3-/- mice and female ASIC3+/+ mice. No differences in fatigue were observed in fatigue task 2. We then tested whether the development of muscle fatigue was dependent on sex and modulated by testosterone. Female ASIC3+/+ mice that were ovariectomized and administered testosterone developed less muscle fatigue than female ASIC3+/+ mice and behaved similarly to male ASIC3+/+ mice. However, testosterone was unable to rescue the muscle fatigue responses in ovariectomized ASIC3-/- mice. Plasma levels of testosterone from male ASIC3-/- mice were significantly lower than in male ASIC3+/+ mice and were similar to female ASIC3+/+ mice. Muscle fiber types, measured by counting ATPase-stained whole muscle sections, were similar in calf muscles from male and female ASIC3+/+ mice. These data suggest that both ASIC3 and testosterone are necessary to protect against muscle fatigue in a task-dependent manner. Also, differences in expression of ASIC3 and the development of exercise-induced fatigue could explain the female predominance in clinical syndromes of pain that include muscle fatigue.
proton; exercise; pain; gender; sex; testosterone; estrogen
Biering-Sørenson (1984) found that individuals with less lumbar extensor muscle endurance had an increased occurrence of first episode low back pain. As a result, back endurance tests have been recommended for inclusion in health assessment protocols. However, different studies have reported markedly different values for endurance times, leading some researchers to believe that the back is receiving support from the biceps femoris and gluteus maximus. Therefore, this study was designed to examine the haemodynamic and neuromuscular activity of the erector spinae, biceps femoris, and gluteus maximus musculature during the Biering-Sørenson Muscular Endurance Test (BSME).
Seventeen healthy individuals and 46 individuals with chronic low back pain performed the Biering-Sørenson Muscular Endurance Test while surface electromyography was used to quantify neuromuscular activity. Disposable silver-silver-chloride electrodes were placed in a bipolar arrangement over the right or left biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, and the lumbosacral paraspinal muscles at the level of L3. Near Infrared Spectroscopy was used simultaneously to measure tissue oxygenation and blood volume changes of the erector spinae and biceps femoris.
The healthy group displayed a significantly longer time to fatigue (Healthy: 168.5s, LBP: 111.1s; p ≤ 0.05). Significant differences were shown in the median frequency slope of the erector spinae between the two groups at 90–100% of the time to fatigue while no significant differences were noted in the haemodynamic data for the two groups.
Although the BSME has been recognized as a test for back endurance, individuals with chronic LBP appear to incorporate a strategy that may help support the back musculature by utilizing the biceps femoris and gluteus maximus to a greater degree than their healthy counterparts.
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
We have tested the hypothesis that the Flat Interface Nerve Electrode (FINE) can selectively stimulate each muscle innervated by the common femoral nerve of the human, near the inguinal ligament in a series of intraoperative trials. During routine vascular surgeries, an 8-contact FINE was placed around the common femoral nerve between the inguinal ligament and the first branching point. The efficacy of the FINE to selectively recruit muscles innervated by the femoral nerve was determined from electromyograms (EMGs) recorded in response to electrical stimulation. At least four of the six muscles innervated by the femoral nerve were selectively recruited in all subjects. Of these, at least one muscle was a hip flexor and two muscles were knee extensors. Results from the intraoperative experiments were used to estimate the potential for the electrode to restore knee extension and hip flexion through Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES). Normalized EMGs and biomechanical simulations were used to estimate joint moments and functional efficacy. Estimated knee extension moments exceed the threshold required for the sit-to-stand transition.
We tested a hypothesis on two patterns of anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) in neck muscles, reciprocal and co-activation, that may be used in a task-specific way. We also explored possible relation of APAs in leg and trunk muscles to head stabilization.
Load perturbations (loading and unloading) were applied to the head, trunk, and head and trunk simultaneously using similar hand actions by standing persons. Electromyographic signals (EMGs) from ten muscles were recorded. Shifts of the center of pressure and EMG indices were computed over typical for APA time intervals.
Time-shifted (reciprocal) activation of neck flexor and extensor muscles during APAs was seen when perturbations were applied directly to the head. Simultaneous activation dominated when the perturbations were applied to the trunk. Minimal APAs were seen in the leg/trunk muscles during head perturbation tests. APAs during trunk perturbation were not different from those during trunk and head perturbation.
The results confirm the existence of two different patterns of APAs in neck muscles. A time-shifted (reciprocal) pattern is more likely to be used in anticipation of a perturbation acting directly on the head. A simultaneous activation (co-activation) pattern is used when direction of head perturbation cannot be predicted with certainty. Leg/trunk APAs are unlikely to help stabilize head posture.
These results are important for better understanding of feed-forward mechanisms of the control of head posture with possible implications for neurological patients who suffer from impaired feed-forward postural control.
Posture; anticipatory postural adjustments; head posture; electromyography; human
Background: Muscle fatigue has high relevance in human performance yet little research has evaluated how it should be assessed.
Objective: To perform a pilot study to identify suitable methods of generating and assessing fatigue of the trunk flexor and extensor muscles.
Methods: Sixteen university rugby players (mean (SEM) age 21.9 (0.2) years) were recruited and subjected to four protocols (A, B, C, D), separated by a week to allow recovery, with peak torque being recorded during each test: A, isokinetic measurements before and after fatigue, with a 10 repetition isokinetic fatigue period; B, isokinetic measurements before and after fatigue with a 45 second isometric fatigue period; C, isometric measurements before and after fatigue with a 10 repetition isokinetic fatigue period; D, isometric measurements before and after fatigue with a 45 second isometric fatigue period. All were conducted during flexion and extension of the trunk on the Cybex Norm Isokinetic Dynamometer trunk flexion-extension unit.
Results: All subjects completed all four protocols. Fatigue induction appeared more effective in flexion than extension. Significant differences in mean peak torque before and after fatigue were seen in protocols A, B, and D in flexion and only in protocol D for extension. In flexion, protocol D produced the greatest fatigue, peak torque being 16.2% less after than before fatigue, suggesting greatest sensitivity.
Conclusions: Protocol D, which incorporates isometric testing and fatigue protocols, appears to be able to produce fatigue most effectively, and therefore may provide the most valid assessment of fatigue in the trunk flexor and extensor muscles.
There is not enough evidence to support the efficacy of massage for muscle fatigue despite wide utilization of the modality in various clinical settings. This study investigated the influence of massage application on localized back muscle fatigue.
Twenty-nine healthy subjects participated in two experimental sessions (massage and rest conditions). On each test day, subjects were asked to lie in the prone position on a treatment table and perform sustained back extension for 90 seconds. Subjects then either received massage on the lumbar region or rested for a 5 minute duration, then repeated the back extension movement. The median frequency (MDF), mean power frequency (MNF), and root mean square (RMS) amplitude of electromyographic signals during the 90 second sustained lumbar muscle contraction were analyzed. The subjective feeling of fatigue was then evaluated using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS).
MDF and MNF significantly declined with time under all conditions. There was no significant difference in MDF, MNF or RMS value change between before and after massage, or between rest and massage conditions. There was a significant increase in fatigue VAS at the end of the 2nd back extension with rest condition. There was a significant difference in fatigue VAS change between massage and rest condition.
A significant difference was observed between massage and rest condition on VAS for muscle fatigue. On EMG analysis, there were no significant differences to conclude that massage stimulation influenced the myoelectrical muscle fatigue, which is associated with metabolic and electrical changes.
Abdominal bracing is often adopted in fitness and sports conditioning programs. However, there is little information on how muscular activities during the task differ among the muscle groups located in the trunk and from those during other trunk exercises. The present study aimed to quantify muscular activity levels during abdominal bracing with respect to muscle- and exercise-related differences. Ten healthy young adult men performed five static (abdominal bracing, abdominal hollowing, prone, side, and supine plank) and five dynamic (V- sits, curl-ups, sit-ups, and back extensions on the floor and on a bench) exercises. Surface electromyogram (EMG) activities of the rectus abdominis (RA), external oblique (EO), internal oblique (IO), and erector spinae (ES) muscles were recorded in each of the exercises. The EMG data were normalized to those obtained during maximal voluntary contraction of each muscle (% EMGmax). The % EMGmax value during abdominal bracing was significantly higher in IO (60%) than in the other muscles (RA: 18%, EO: 27%, ES: 19%). The % EMGmax values for RA, EO, and ES were significantly lower in the abdominal bracing than in some of the other exercises such as V-sits and sit-ups for RA and EO and back extensions for ES muscle. However, the % EMGmax value for IO during the abdominal bracing was significantly higher than those in most of the other exercises including dynamic ones such as curl-ups and sit-ups. These results suggest that abdominal bracing is one of the most effective techniques for inducing a higher activation in deep abdominal muscles, such as IO muscle, even compared to dynamic exercises involving trunk flexion/extension movements.
Trunk muscle activities during abdominal bracing was examined with regard to muscle- and exercise-related differences.
Abdominal bracing preferentially activates internal oblique muscles even compared to dynamic exercises involving trunk flexion/extension movements.
Abdominal bracing should be included in exercise programs when the goal is to improve spine stability.
Static and dynamic exercises; electromyogram; voluntary co-contraction; muscle- and exercise-related differences
Proper movement timing is essential to the successful execution of many motor tasks and may be adversely affected by muscle fatigue. This study quantified how muscle fatigue affected task performance during a repetitive upper extremity task. 14 healthy young adults pushed a low load back and forth along a low-friction horizontal track in time with a metronome until volitional exhaustion. Kinematic, force, and electromyography (EMG) data were measured continuously throughout the task. The first and last 3.5 minutes were analyzed to represent ‘early’ and ‘late’ fatigue. Means and standard deviations of movement distance, speed, and timing errors were computed. We also decomposed variations in movement distance and speed into deviations that directly affected achieving the task goal and those that did not, by identifying the goal equivalent manifold (GEM) of all valid solutions to this task. Detrended fluctuation analysis was used to quantify the temporal persistence in each time series. Principle components analysis provided a direct measure of alignment with the GEM. Median power frequencies of the EMG significantly decreased in 6 of the 9 muscles tested indicating that subjects did fatigue. However, there were no differences in the means or variability of movement distance, speed, or timing errors. Thus, subjects maintained overall performance despite fatigue. Subjects applied slightly higher peak handle forces when they were fatigued (p = 0.032). Muscle fatigue caused significant reductions in the temporal persistence of movement speed (p = 0.037) and timing errors (p = 0.046), indicating that subjects corrected errors more quickly when fatigued. Mean deviations and variability perpendicular to the GEM were much smaller than variability along the GEM (p < 0.001). Deviations perpendicular to the GEM were also corrected much more rapidly than those along the GEM (p < 0.001). Subjects aligned themselves very closely (< ±7°), but not exactly (p < 0.001), with the GEM. These measures were not significantly affected by muscle fatigue. Overall, these results indicated that subjects altered their biomechanical movement patterns in response to muscle fatigue, but did so in a way that specifically preserved the goal relevant features of task performance.
Multi-joint movement; Redundancy; Muscle fatigue; Physical endurance; Motor control; Time factors
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