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Pain. 1988 Aug;34(2):153-60.

Comparison of lumbar paravertebral EMG patterns in chronic low back pain patients and non-patient controls.

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Miriam Hospital, Brown University Program in Medicine, Providence, RI 02906.


According to myogenic models that relate abnormal EMG patterns to the experience of pain, lumbar paravertebral muscle activity has been considered to play an important role in chronic low back pain. In the present study, 40 chronic low back pain patients and 40 matched non-patient controls were compared on lumbar paravertebral EMG during mechanically stabilized static and dynamic postures. Differences between groups in lumbar curvature and spinal range of motion were determined using a dual goniometer technique. Although the two groups did not differ on absolute levels of EMG during quiet standing, significant differences were found for EMG patterns during dynamic postures. In addition, most patients did not show the flexion-relaxation response or the expected pattern of EMG responses during trunk rotation, most likely because of restricted range of motion and/or compensatory posturing. These findings provide support for the biomechanical model of chronic pain and indicate the need for further research pertaining to pain behavior and movement-related lumbar muscle activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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