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J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2015 Apr;25(2):371-86. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2015.01.006. Epub 2015 Jan 31.

Analysis of scapular muscle EMG activity in patients with idiopathic neck pain: a systematic review.

Author information

1
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium. Electronic address: Birgit.Castelein@ugent.be.
2
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium.

Abstract

It is proposed that altered scapular muscle function can contribute to abnormal loading of the cervical spine. However, it is not clear if patients with idiopathic neck pain show altered activity of the scapular muscles. The aim of this paper was to systematically review the literature regarding the differences or similarities in scapular muscle activity, measured by electromyography ( = EMG), between patients with chronic idiopathic neck pain compared to pain-free controls. Case-control (neck pain/healthy) studies investigating scapular muscle EMG activity (amplitude, timing and fatigue parameters) were searched in Pubmed and Web of Science. 25 articles were included in the systematic review. During rest and activities below shoulder height, no clear differences in mean Upper Trapezius ( = UT) EMG activity exist between patients with idiopathic neck pain and a healthy control group. During overhead activities, no conclusion for scapular EMG amplitude can be drawn as a large variation of results were reported. Adaptation strategies during overhead tasks are not the same between studies. Only one study investigated timing of the scapular muscles and found a delayed onset and shorter duration of the SA during elevation in patients with idiopathic neck pain. For scapular muscle fatigue, no definite conclusions can be made as a wide variation and conflicting results are reported. Further high quality EMG research on scapular muscles (broader than the UT) is necessary to understand/draw conclusions on how scapular muscles react in the presence of idiopathic neck pain.

KEYWORDS:

Cervical spine; EMG; Neck pain; Scapula

PMID:
25683111
DOI:
10.1016/j.jelekin.2015.01.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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