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California State University, Long Beach
Department of Physical Therapy
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Spine Research Laboratory

Current studies:

An electromyographic analysis of common thoracic exercises: implications for rehabilitation

Exercises intended to improve muscle performance of the thoracic extensors are commonly used in the management of thoracic and cervical spine pain disorders, hyperkyphosis, scoliosis and osteoporosis. Despite the evidence of differential muscle activation in both thoracic spine regions and thoracic muscles, little evidence is available which describes the relative activation levels of exercises for the thoracic extensors. In this study, intramuscular EMG recordings using ultrasound-guided insertions in the multifidus and longissimus thoracic muscles at the T7 and T11 levels and surface electrode recordings of the lumbar extensors at the L5 level are used to examine 16 commonly used thoracic exercises.

 

Discriminative and reliability assessment of multifidus muscle cross-sectional area measurements from MR images of persons with and without low back pain in novice examiners: a new clinical measure

Atrophy of parapinal muscles is common among persons with low back pain (LBP). Currently, clinical methods to quantify paraspinal muscle size are limited. Patients with chronic low back pain and patients awaiting microdiscectomy frequently receive CDs of their magnetic resonance (MR) images which can be examined by the treating clinician with ImageJ software (Free NIH download). The purpose of this study is to determine the reliability and discriminative validity of paraspinal muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) measurements performed by novice examiners from MR images of persons with and without low back pain. If sufficiently reliable, such findings could enhance decisions regarding exercise prescription for the paraspinal muscles.

Can postural cuing selectively increase local extensor activation during lumbar rehabilitation exercises in persons with and without chronic or recurrent low back pain? An EMG assessment using fine wire electrodes

Localized impairment of lumbar multifidus (LM) size and activation is common among persons with low back pain (LBP). Methods used to augment muscle activation during rehabilitation exercises such as abdominal hollowing or exercising on unstable surfaces have been shown to either generally increase extensor activation or only augment global muscle activation. Selective activation of lower LM has been demonstrated using a short lordosis posture when compared to other sitting postures. The purpose of this experiment was to determine if postural cuing using a short lordosis during lumbar rehabilitation exercises will increase lower LM activation without concurrently increasing global extensor activation in persons with and without chronic or recurrent LBP.

Immediate effects of lumbar manipulation on muscle activation in persons with chronic low back pain - a pilot study

In this study, a combination of intramuscular and surface electromyography is used to compare changes in muscle amplitude and timing among muscles of the trunk and hip, prior to and following lumbar manipulation in persons with chronic low back pain. As a pilot study, a number of tasks are being examined, including both anticipated and unanticipated perturbations, which place various demands on both the trunk and hip musculature.

 

 

George Beneck, PhD, PT, OCS, KEMG

Dr. Beneck's photo