399 research outputs found

    Structural changes of lumbar muscles in non-specific low back pain

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    Background: Lumbar muscle dysfunction due to pain might be related to altered lumbar muscle structure. Macroscopically, muscle degeneration in low back pain (LBP) is characterized by a decrease in cross-sectional area and an increase in fat infiltration in the lumbar paraspinal muscles. In addition microscopic changes, such as changes in fiber distribution, might occur. Inconsistencies in results from different studies make it difficult to draw firm conclusions on which structural changes are present in the different types of non-specific LBP. Insights regarding structural muscle alterations in LBP are, however, important for prevention and treatment of non-specific LBP. Objective: The goal of this article is to review which macro- and/or microscopic structural alterations of the lumbar muscles occur in case of non-specific chronic low back pain (CLBP), recurrent low back pain (RLBP), and acute low back pain (ALBP). Study Design: Systematic review. Setting: All selected studies were case-control studies. Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted in the databases PubMed and Web of Science. Only full texts of original studies regarding structural alterations (atrophy, fat infiltration, and fiber type distribution) in lumbar muscles of patients with non-specific LBP compared to healthy controls were included. All included articles were scored on methodological quality. Results: Fifteen studies were found eligible after screening title, abstract, and full text for inclusion and exclusion criteria. In CLBP, moderate evidence of atrophy was found in the multifidus; whereas, results in the paraspinal and the erector spinae muscle remain inconclusive. Also moderate evidence occurred in RLBP and ALBP, where no atrophy was shown in any lumbar muscle. Conflicting results were seen in undefined LBP groups. Results concerning fat infiltration were inconsistent in CLBP. On the other hand, there is moderate evidence in RLBP that fat infiltration does not occur, although a larger muscle fat index was found in the erector spinae, multifidus, and paraspinal muscles, reflecting an increased relative amount of intramuscular lipids in RLBP. However, no studies were found investigating fat infiltration in ALBP. Restricted evidence indicates no abnormalities in fiber type in the paraspinal muscles in CLBP. No studies have examined fiber type in ALBP and RLBP. Limitations: Lack of clarity concerning patient definitions, exact LBP symptoms, and applied methods. Conclusions: The results indicate atrophy in CLBP in the multifidus and paraspinal muscles but not in the erector spinae. No atrophy was shown in RLBP and ALBP. Fat infiltration did not occur in RLBP, but results in CLBP were inconsistent. No abnormalities in fiber type in the paraspinal muscles were found in CLBP

    Biceps femoris and semitendinosus: teammates or competitors? : new insights into hamstring injury mechanisms in male football players : a muscle functional MRI study

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    Background: The hamstring injury mechanism was assessed by investigating the exercise-related metabolic activity characteristics of the hamstring muscles using a muscle functional MRI (mfMRI) protocol. Methods: 27 healthy male football players and 27 football players with a history of hamstring injuries (recovered and playing fully) underwent standardised mfMR Imaging. The mfMRI protocol consisted of a resting scan, a strenuous bilateral eccentric hamstring exercise and a postexercise scan. The exercise-related T2 increase or the signal intensity shift between both scans was used to detect differences in metabolic activation characteristics (1) between the different hamstring muscle bellies and (2) between the injury group and the control group. Results: A more symmetrical muscle recruitment pattern corresponding to a less economic hamstring muscle activation was demonstrated in the formerly injured group (p<0.05). The injured group also demonstrated a significantly lower strength endurance capacity during the eccentric hamstring exercise. Conclusions: These findings suggest that the vulnerability of the hamstring muscles to football-related injury is related to the complexity and close coherence in the synergistic muscle recruitment of the biceps femoris and the semitendinosus. Discrete differences in neuromuscular coordination and activity distribution, with the biceps femoris partly having to compensate for the lack of endurance capacity of the semitendinosus, probably increase the hamstring injury risk

    Is traumatic and non-traumatic neck pain associated with brain alterations? : a systematic review

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    Background: Chronic neck pain affects 50% - 85% of people who have experienced an acute episode. This transition and the persistence of chronic complaints are believed to be mediated by brain alterations among different central mechanisms. Objectives: This study aimed to systematically review and critically appraise the current existing evidence regarding structural and functional brain alterations in patients with whiplash associated disorders (WAD) and idiopathic neck pain (INP). Additionally, associations between brain alterations and clinical symptoms reported in neck pain patients were evaluated. Study Design: Systematic review. Methods: The present systematic review was performed according to the PRISMA guidelines. PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases were searched. First, the obtained articles were screened based on title and abstract. Secondly, the screening was based on the full text. Risk of bias in included studies was investigated. Results: Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria. Alterations in brain morphology and function, including perfusion, neurotransmission, and blood oxygenation level dependent-signal, were demonstrated in chronic neck pain patients. There is some to moderate evidence for both structural and functional brain alterations in patients with chronic neck pain. In contrast, no evidence for structural brain alterations in acute neck pain patients was found. Limitations: Only 12 articles were included, which allows only cautious conclusions to be drawn. Conclusion: Brain alterations were observed in both patients with chronic WAD and chronic INP. Furthermore, more evidence exists for brain alterations in chronic WAD, and different underlying mechanisms might be present in both pathologies. In addition, pain and disability were correlated with the observed brain alterations. Accordingly, morphological and functional brain alterations should be further investigated in patients with chronic WAD and chronic INP with newer and more sensitive techniques, and associative clinical measurements seem indispensable in future research

    The impact of different lenses on visual and musculoskeletal complaints in VDU workers with work-related neck complaints : a randomized controlled trial

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    Objectives: The impact of wearing lenses on visual and musculoskeletal complaints in VDU workers is currently unknown. The goal of this study was 1) to evaluate the impact of wearing VDU lenses on visual fatigue and self-reported neck pain and disability, compared to progressive lenses, and 2) to measure the effect of both lenses on head inclination and pressure pain thresholds during the performance of a VDU task. Methods: Thirty-five eligible subjects were randomly assigned to wear progressive VDU lenses (VDU group) (n = 18) or progressive lenses (P group) (n = 17). They were enquired about visual complaints (VFQ), self-perceived pain (NRS) and disability (NDI) at baseline (with old lenses), and 1 week, 3 months and 6 months after wearing their new lenses. In addition, Forward Head Angle (FHA) and PPTs were assessed during and after a VDU task before and 6 months after wearing the new lenses. A short questionnaire concerning the satisfaction about the study lenses was completed at the end of the study. Results: In both groups, visual fatigue and neck pain was decreased at 3 and 6 months follow up, compared to baseline. All PPTs were higher during the second VDU task, independent of the type of lenses. The VDU group reported a significantly higher suitability of the lenses for VDU work. Conclusion: It can be concluded that there is little difference in effect of the different lenses on visual and musculoskeletal comfort. Lenses should be adjusted to the task-specific needs and habits of the participant

    Attentional modulation of somatosensory processing during the anticipation of movements accompanying pain : an event-related potential study

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    Attending to pain-relevant information is crucial to protect us from physical harm. Behavioral studies have already suggested that during anticipation of pain somatosensory input at the body location under threat is prioritized. However, research using daily life cues for pain, especially movements, is lacking. Furthermore, to our knowledge, no studies have investigated cortical processing associated with somatosensory processing during threatened movements. The current study aims to investigate whether movements accompanying pain automatically steer attention toward somatosensory input at the threatened location, affecting somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs). Healthy volunteers were cued to perform movements with the left or the right hand, and one of these movements could be accompanied by pain on the moving hand. During movement anticipation, a task-irrelevant tactile stimulus was presented to the threatened or pain-free hand to evoke SEPs. During anticipation of movements accompanying pain, the N120 component was increased for tactile stimuli at the threatened relative to the hand without pain. Moreover, the P200 SEP was enhanced during anticipation of movements accompanying pain relative to movements without pain, irrespective of which hand was stimulated. These findings show that the anticipation of pain-accompanying movements may affect the processing of somatosensory input, and that this is likely to be driven by attentional processes. PERSPECTIVE: This study shows that the anticipation of pain-related movements automatically biases attention toward stimuli at a pain-related location, measured according to SEPs. The present study provides important new insights in the interplay between pain and attention, and its consequences at the cortical level

    Effects of stress and relaxation on central pain modulation in chronic whiplash and fibromyalgia patients compared to healthy controls

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    Background: Compelling evidence has demonstrated that impaired central pain modulation contributes to persistent pain in patients with chronic whiplash associated disorders (WAD) and fibromyalgia (FM). However, there is limited research concerning the influence of stress and relaxation on central pain modulation in patients with chronic WAD and FM. Objectives: The present study aims to investigate the effects of acute cognitive stress and relaxation on central pain modulation in chronic WAD and FM patients compared to healthy individuals. Study Design: A randomized crossover design was employed. Setting: The present study took place at the University of Brussels, the University Hospital Brussels, and the University of Antwerp. Methods: Fifty-nine participants (16 chronic WAD patients, 21 FM, 22 pain-free controls) were enrolled and subjected to various pain measurements. Temporal summation (TS) of pain and conditioned pain modulation (CPM) were evaluated. Subsequently, participants were randomly allocated to either a group that received progressive relaxation therapy or a group that performed a battery of cognitive tests (= cognitive stressor). Afterwards, all pain measurements were repeated. One week later participant groups were switched. Results: A significant difference was found between the groups in the change in TS in response to relaxation (P = 0.008) and cognitive stress (P = 0.003). TS decreased in response to relaxation and cognitive stress in chronic WAD patients and controls. In contrast, TS increased after both interventions in FM patients. CPM efficacy decreased in all 3 groups in response to relaxation (P = 0.002) and cognitive stress (P = 0.001). Limitations: The obtained results only apply for a single session of muscle relaxation therapy and cognitive stress, whereby no conclusions can be made for effects on pain perception and modulation of chronic cognitive stress and long-term relaxation therapies. Conclusions: A single relaxation session as well as cognitive stress may have negative acute effects on pain modulation in patients with FM, while cognitive stress and relaxation did not worsen bottom-up sensitization in chronic WAD patients and healthy persons. However, endogenous pain inhibition, assessed using a CPM paradigm, worsened in chronic WAD and FM patients, as well as in healthy people following both interventions

    Does conservative treatment change the brain in patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain? : a systematic review

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    Background: Chronic musculoskeletal pain is characterized by maladaptive central neuroplastic changes. Many observational studies have demonstrated that chronic pain states are associated with brain alterations regarding structure and/or function. Rehabilitation of patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain may include cognitive, exercise, or multimodal therapies. Objective: The current review aims to provide a constructive overview of the existing literature reporting neural correlates, based on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques, following conservative treatment in chronic musculoskeletal pain patients. Study Design: Systematic review of the literature. Methods: The current review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. Literature was searched from 3 databases and screened for eligibility. Methodological quality across studies was assessed with Cochrane Collaboration's tool for assessing risk of bias and quality of evidence was determined applying the Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. Results: A total of 9 eligible studies were identified with a predominant high risk of bias. Cognitive behavioral therapy induced several structural and functional changes predominantly in prefrontal cortical regions and a shift from affective to sensory-discriminative brain activity after behavioral extinction training. Multidisciplinary treatment in pediatric complex regional pain syndrome facilitated normalization of functional connectivity of resting-state networks and the amygdala, and increased gray matter in prefrontal and specific subcortical areas. Exercise therapy led to specific for resting-state functional connectivity and a trend towards pressure-induced brain activity changes. Limitations: A very small number of studies was available, which furthermore exhibited small study samples. Moreover, only 2 of the included studies were randomized controlled trials. Conclusions: It is likely that conservative treatments may induce mainly functional and structural brain changes in prefrontal regions in patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Due to the relatively high risk of bias across the included studies, future studies with randomized designs are needed to confirm the current findings. In addition, more research evaluating

    The effect of experimental low back pain on lumbar muscle activity in people with a history of clinical low back pain: a muscle functional MRI study

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    In people with a history of low back pain (LBP), structural and functional alterations have been observed at several peripheral and central levels of the sensorimotor pathway. These existing alterations might interact with the way the sensorimotor system responds to pain. We examined this assumption by evaluating the lumbar motor responses to experimental nociceptive input of 15 participants during remission of unilateral recurrent LBP. Quantitative T2 images (muscle functional MRI) were taken bilaterally of multifidus, erector spinae, and psoas at several segmental levels (L3 upper and L4 upper and lower endplate) and during several conditions: 1) at rest, 2) upon trunk-extension exercise without pain, and 3) upon trunk-extension exercise with experimental induced pain at the clinical pain-side (1.5-ml intramuscular hypertonic saline injections in erector spinae). Following experimental pain induction, muscle activity levels similarly reduced for all three muscles, on both painful and nonpainful sides, and at multiple segmental levels (P = 0.038). Pain intensity and localization from experimental LBP were similar as during recalled clinical LBP episodes. In conclusion, unilateral and unisegmental experimental LBP exerts a generalized and widespread decrease in lumbar muscle activity during remission of recurrent LBP. This muscle response is consistent with previous observed patterns in healthy people subjected to the same experimental pain paradigm. It is striking that similar inhibitory patterns in response to pain could be observed, despite the presence of preexisting alterations in the lumbar musculature during remission of recurrent LBP. These results suggest that motor output can modify along the course of recurrent LBP
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