Effects of exercise-induced low back pain on intrinsic trunk stiffness and paraspinal muscle reflexes
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to (1) compare trunk neuromuscular behavior between individuals with no history of low back pain (LBP) and individuals who experience exercise-induced LBP (eiLBP) when pain free, and (2) investigate changes in trunk neuromuscular behavior with eiLBP. Seventeen young adult males participated including eight reporting recurrent, acute eiLBP and nine control participants reporting no history of LBP. Intrinsic trunk stiffness and paraspinal muscle reflex delay were determined in both groups using sudden trunk flexion position perturbations 1-2 days following exercise when the eiLBP participants were experiencing an episode of LBP (termed post-exercise) and 4-5 days following exercise when eiLBP had subsided (termed post-recovery). Post-recovery, when the eiLBP group was experiencing minimal LBP, trunk stiffness was 26% higher in the eiLBP group compared to the control group (p=0.033) and reflex delay was not different (p=0.969) between groups. Trunk stiffness did not change (p=0.826) within the eiLBP group from post-exercise to post-recovery, but decreased 22% within the control group (p=0.002). Reflex delay decreased 11% within the eiLBP group from post-exercise to post-recovery (p=0.013), and increased 15% within the control group (p=0.006). Although the neuromuscular mechanisms associated with eiLBP and chronic LBP may differ, these results suggest that previously-reported differences in trunk neuromuscular behavior between individuals with chronic LBP and healthy controls reflect a combination of inherent differences in neuromuscular behavior between these individuals as well as changes in neuromuscular behavior elicited by pain.
SourceAvailable from: Gregory P Slota[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: 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 analyses of variance 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.Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon) 03/2010; 25(6):541-5. DOI:10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2010.02.012 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: It has been well documented that low-back pain (LBP) patients have longer muscle response latencies to perturbation than healthy controls. These muscle responses appear to be reflexive and not voluntary in nature, and as a result, might be useful for objectively classifying LBP. The goal of the study was to develop an objective and accurate method for classifying LBP using a sudden load-release protocol. Subjects were divided into two groups: learning group (20 patients and 20 controls), and holdout group (15 patients and 12 controls). Subjects exerted isometric trunk force against a cable in four different directions. Following cable release, the trunk was suddenly displaced eliciting a muscle reflex response. Reflex latencies for muscles switching-on and shutting-off were determined using electromyogram signals from 8 trunk muscles. Independent t tests were performed on the learning group to determine which reflex parameters were to be entered into logistic regression analysis to produce a classification model. The holdout group was used to validate this classification model. The three-parameter model was able to correctly classify 83% of the learning group, and 81% of the holdout group. Using reflex parameters appears to be an accurate and objective method for classifying LBP.Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 03/2005; 15(1):53-60. DOI:10.1016/j.jelekin.2004.07.001 · 1.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Experimental studies suggest that flexed working postures reduce passive support of the spine, which could represent a significant risk factor for the development of occupational low back disorders. Neuromuscular compensations to reduced passive stiffness include increases in baseline activity or reflexive activation of trunk muscles. Yet, alterations and recovery of the synergy between active and passive tissues following prolonged flexion in humans are currently unknown. Twelve healthy participants were exposed to all combinations of two trunk flexion durations (2 and 16 min) and three flexion angles (33, 66, and 100% of individual flexion-relaxation angle). Load relaxation was recorded throughout exposures, whereas trunk stiffness and reflexive behaviors of the lumbar extensor muscles were investigated during dynamic responses to sudden perturbations. The magnitude of load relaxation increased with increasing flexion angle. Trunk stiffness decreased and reflex gains increased following flexion exposures; for both outcomes, acute changes were larger following exposure to increasing flexion angle. Reflex gains remained elevated one hour after exposure to maximum flexion. Exposure to prolonged trunk flexion changed trunk stiffness and reflex behavior in patterns consistent with epidemiological evidence linking such exposure with the risk of occupational low back disorders. Observed increases in reflex gains, at least among healthy individuals, may be a compensation for decreases in passive trunk stiffness following acute exposure to flexed postures. It remains to be determined whether the neuromuscular system can similarly respond to accumulated disturbances in passive structures following exposure to repeated flexion tasks.Clinical Biomechanics 10/2010; 26(3):250-6. DOI:10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2010.09.019 · 1.88 Impact Factor