2018-07-03Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/19641
Muscle Strength and Neuromuscular Control in Low-Back Pain: Elite Athletes Versus General Population
The purpose of the study was to investigate the athletic-based specificity of muscle strength and neuromuscular control of spine stability in chronic non-specific low-back pain (LBP). Thirty elite athletes and 29 age-matched non-athletes with (15 athletes and 15 non-athletes) and without LBP (15 athletes and 14 non-athletes) participated in the study. Muscle strength was measured during maximal isometric trunk flexion and trunk extension contractions. The neuromuscular control of spine stability was analyzed by determining trunk stiffness, trunk damping, and onset times of the lumbar and thoracic erector spinae muscles after sudden perturbations (quick release experiments) as well as maximum Lyapunov exponents (local dynamic stability) using non-linear time series analysis of repetitive lifting movements. LBP was assessed using the visual analog scale. We found lower maximal trunk extension moments (p = 0.03), higher trunk damping (p = 0.018) and shorter onset times (p = 0.03) of the investigated trunk muscles in LBP patients in both athletes and non-athletes. Trunk stiffness and the local dynamic stability did not show any differences (p = 0.136 and p = 0.375, respectively) between LBP patients and healthy controls in both groups. It can be concluded that, despite the high-level of training in athletes, both athletes and non-athletes with LBP showed the same deconditioning of the lumbar extensor muscles and developed similar strategies to ensure spine stability after sudden perturbations to protect the spine from pain and damage. The findings highlight that specific training interventions for the trunk muscles are not only crucial for individuals of the general population, but also for well-trained athletes.
This article was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Open Access Publication Fund of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.