METHODS: A control group study with repeated measures was performed. Study participants included 15 control subjects and 14 patients with LBP. Participants were required to exert 50% and 75% of their maximal trunk flexion and extension. In a learning phase, feedback was provided, after which study participants were asked to perform 10 trials without any feedback. Spatiotemporal parameters of muscular activity and force production were recorded. Dependent variables included time to peak force, peak force variability, absolute error in peak force, electromyogram (EMG) burst duration for agonist muscles, and normalized integrated EMG.
RESULTS: Average time to peak force was significantly longer for subjects with LBP than for healthy subjects. Subjects with LBP showed longer burst duration for all 4 muscles recorded. No group difference was noted in normalized integrated EMG.
CONCLUSIONS: We suggest that the observed changes in trunk motor control and trunk muscle recruitment strategies are not only mediated by a neurophysiologic adaptation to chronic pain but also by cognitive adaptations modulated by fear of movement and fear of reinjury.
First author: Martin Descarreaux, DC, PhD
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