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

Christophe Demoulin, Jean-Michel Crielaard and Marc Vanderthommen

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 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. Surface electromyography in patients with chronic low back pain shows increased paraspinal muscle fatigability, often with abolition of the flexion-relaxation phenomenon.

Joint Bone Spine, Volume 74, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 9-13

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