Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine associations between the degree of central sensitization (CS) and remote muscle performance in people with chronic low back pain (CLBP).
Methods: The 2011 fibromyalgia (FM) criteria and severity scales (2011 FM survey) were used as a surrogate measure of CS to divide the participants into 2 groups: FM-positive CLBP and FM-negative CLBP. Measures related to central sensitization included the 2011 FM survey and pressure pain threshold of the thumbnail. Measures related to muscle performance included neck flexor muscle strength and endurance and plantar flexor muscle strength. Between-groups and correlation analyses were performed.
Results: Sixty people with CLBP were enrolled (30 FM-positive, 30 FM-negative). There was no significant difference between the subgroups in age, sex, or pain duration (P > .05). The FM-positive CLBP group showed poorer neck flexor muscle endurance (P = .01) and plantar flexor muscle strength (P = .002) than the FM-negative CLBP group, whereas neck flexor muscle strength was not different between the groups (P = .175). Scores for FM and values for pressure pain thresholds of the thumbnail were associated with neck flexor muscle strength (respectively, r = -0.320, P = .013, and r = 0.467, P < .001), endurance (r = -0.242, P < .001, and r = 0.335, P = .009), and plantar flexor muscle strength (r = -0.469, P < .001, and r = 0.500, P < .001).
Conclusion: We found associations between the degree of CS and remote muscle strength and endurance, suggesting that poor remote muscle performance is possibly a clinical sign of CS in people with CLBP.
Author keywords: Central Nervous System Sensitization; Muscle Strength
Author affiliations: Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas.
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