Send to

Choose Destination
Joint Bone Spine. 2007 Jan;74(1):9-13. Epub 2006 Nov 13.

Spinal muscle evaluation in healthy individuals and low-back-pain patients: a literature review.

Author information

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Department, ISEPK B21, Liège University, Allée des Sports 4, B-4000 Liège-Sart Tilman, Belgium.


This article reviews available techniques for spinal muscle investigation, as well as data on spinal muscles in healthy individuals and in patients with low back pain. In patients with chronic low back pain, medical imaging studies show paraspinal muscle wasting with reductions in cross-sectional surface area and fiber density. In healthy individuals, the paraspinal muscles contain a high proportion of slow-twitch fibers (Type I), reflecting their role in maintaining posture. The proportion of Type I fibers is higher in females, leading to better adaptation to aerobic exertion compared to males. Abnormalities seen in paraspinal muscles from patients with chronic low back pain include marked Type II fiber atrophy, conversion of Type I to Type II fibers, and an increased number of nonspecific abnormalities. Limited data are available from magnetic resonance spectroscopy used to investigate muscle metabolism and from near infrared spectroscopy used to measure oxygen uptake by the paraspinal muscles. Surface electromyography in patients with chronic low back pain shows increased paraspinal muscle fatigability, often with abolition of the flexion-relaxation phenomenon.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center