Relationships between Paraspinal Muscle Activity and Lumbar Inter-Vertebral Range of Motion

Alister du Rose, Alan Breen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Downloads (Pure)


Control of the lumbar spine requires contributions from both the active and passive sub-systems. Identifying interactions between these systems may provide insight into the mechanisms of low back pain. However, as a first step it is important to investigate what is normal. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between the lumbar inter-vertebral range of motion and paraspinal muscle activity during weight-bearing flexion in healthy controls using quantitative fluoroscopy (QF) and surface electromyography (sEMG). Contemporaneous lumbar sEMG and QF motion sequences were recorded during controlled active flexion of 60° using electrodes placed over Longissimus thoracis pars thoracis (TES), Longissimus thoracis pars lumborum (LES), and Multifidus (LMU). Normalised root mean square (RMS) sEMG amplitude data were averaged over five epochs, and the change in amplitude between epochs was calculated. The sEMG ratios of LMU/LES LMU/TES and LES/TES were also determined. QF was used to measure the maximum inter-vertebral range of motion from L2-S1, and correlation coefficients were calculated between sEMG amplitude variables and these measurements. Intra- and inter-session sEMG amplitude repeatability was also assessed for all three paraspinal muscles. The sEMG amplitude measurements were highly repeatable, and sEMG amplitude changes correlated significantly with L4-5 and L5-S1 IV-RoMmax (r = -0.47 to 0.59). The sEMG amplitude ratio of LES/TES also correlated with L4-L5 IV-RoMmax (r = -0.53). The relationships found may be important when considering rehabilitation for low back pain.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • spine kinematics
  • fluoroscopy
  • Surface Electromyography
  • reliability
  • agreement


Dive into the research topics of 'Relationships between Paraspinal Muscle Activity and Lumbar Inter-Vertebral Range of Motion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this