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J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 1999 Dec;9(6):363-77.

Fibre type characteristics and function of the human paraspinal muscles: normal values and changes in association with low back pain.

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Department of Neurology, Schulthess Clinic, Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


This review focuses on the role of the paraspinal muscles in relation to the development and existence of low back pain. It begins with a discussion of the deficits in paraspinal muscle strength and fatigue-resistance observed in low back pain patients and addresses the issue of 'cause or effect' with respect to muscle dysfunction and back pain. Our current knowledge regarding the 'normal' fibre type characteristics of the human erector spinae is then presented and the influence of these fibre type characteristics on the muscle's performance capacity is discussed. Alterations in the 'microanatomy' of the musculature in connection with low back pain, and the associated implications for the performance capacity of the patient, are then considered. Finally, a number of outstanding issues in relation to the clinical significance of back muscle dysfunction are identified, leading to the proposal of areas for future research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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