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Electromyographically-Determined Muscular Fatigue in Low Back Pain 

Electromyographically-Determined Muscular Fatigue in Low Back Pain
Electromyographically-Determined Muscular Fatigue in Low Back Pain

Anne F. Mannion

and David O’Riordan

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date: 17 May 2022

In summary, there are many convincing hypotheses linking fatigable back muscles with LBP. Fatigability of the back muscles, as measured by the rate of decline in the mean or median frequency of the EMG power spectrum, can be measured with acceptable reliability if the basic principles of EMG are adhered to, and optimized sampling methods are used. The rate of decline in MF is correlated with the rate of decline in maximum force-generating capacity and is (at least in part) dependent on the underlying muscle fibre characteristics. The findings on differences in EMG-determined fatigability in patients with LBP and healthy controls are conflicting, as are those concerned with changes in EMG-fatigability after rehabilitation or exercise therapy. Back muscle fatigability does not relate to subjective ratings of pain or disability in LBP patients, and does not change in parallel to changes in these clinical variables after therapy. Hence, the clinical significance of EMG-determined back muscle fatigability remains obscure. Future studies should focus on its potential role in relation to predicting LBP recurrence/chronification.

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