Trunk muscle reflexes are elicited by small continuous perturbations in healthy subjects and patients with low-back pain

Daniel Ludvig*, Christian Larivière

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Low-back pain (LBP) has been recognized as the leading cause of disability worldwide. Lumbar instability has been considered as an important mechanism of LBP and one potential contributor to lumbar stability is trunk muscle reflex activity. However, due to the differences in experimental paradigms used to quantify trunk mechanics and trunk reflexes it remains unclear as to what extent the reflex pathway contributes to overall lumbar stability. The goal of this work was to determine to what extent reflexes of various trunk muscles were elicited by the small continuous perturbations normally used to quantify trunk mechanics. Electromyographic (EMG) activity was measured bilaterally from 3 trunk extensor muscles and 3 trunk flexor muscles at four epochs: 25–50 ms, 50–75 ms, 75–100 ms and 100–125 ms following each perturbation. Reflex activity was seen in all muscles as 34 of the 48 muscle-epoch combinations showed a significant reflex response to either perturbations in the forward or backward direction. However, the reflex EMG activity did not correlate with mechanical estimates of the reflex response. Thus, even though reflexes are indeed elicited by the small perturbations used to quantify trunk mechanics, their exact contribution to overall lumbar stability remains unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Volume30
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Keywords

  • EMG
  • Perturbations
  • Reflex
  • Stiffness
  • Trunk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology

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