Low back pain suppresses preparatory and triggered upper-limb activation after sudden upper-limb loading.

Department of Neurosurgery, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.
Spine (Impact Factor: 2.45). 04/2007; 32(5):E150-5. DOI: 10.1097/01.brs.0000256886.94791.94
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A cross-sectional comparative study between healthy controls and patients with chronic low back pain (LBP).
To assess the effect of chronic LBP on biceps brachii muscle activation during sudden upper-limb loading.
Chronic LBP is related to altered trunk muscle function. However, it is not known if these changes are also found in upper-limb function, indicating a general effect.
Surface electromyographic recordings were made from the biceps brachii bilaterally from 22 control subjects without chronic LBP and 29 patients with chronic LBP. Electromyography was recorded during expected and unexpected limb loading, with the activation pattern recorded for analysis at 150 milliseconds before loading, and 3 consecutive 50 milliseconds periods following loading. RESULTS.: Chronic LBP patients had decreased biceps brachii activation before expected perturbation (P = 0.035) and during the third 50-millisecond period (from 100 to 150 milliseconds) after unexpected perturbation (P = 0.010). During the first 2, 50-millisecond periods (from 0 to 100 milliseconds) after the perturbation, the activation was similar.
Chronic LBP did not affect reflex activation of biceps brachii muscles but decreased preparatory and triggered reactions. The finding indicates that back pain may disturb higher level information processing in motor control.

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