Spinal Manipulation Alters Electromyographic Activity of Paraspinal Muscles: A Descriptive Study
Spinal Manipulation Alters Electromyographic Activity of Paraspinal Muscles: A Descriptive Study
Received 14 November 2003; received in revised form 8 January 2004; accepted 8 April 2004.
James W. DeVocht, DC, PhDa, Joel G. Pickar, DC, PhDb, David G. Wilder, PhDc
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT)
Elsevier

Objective
To examine the effect of spinal manipulation on electromyographic (EMG) activity in areas of localized tight muscle bundles of the low back.

Methods
Surface EMG activity was collected from 16 participants in 2 chiropractic offices during the 5 to 10 minutes of the treatment protocol. Electrodes were placed over the 2 sites of greatest paraspinal muscle tension as determined by manual palpation. Spinal manipulation was administered to 8 participants using Activator protocol; the other 8 were treated using Diversified protocol.

Results
Electromyographic activity decreased by at least 25% after treatment in 24 of the 31 sites that were monitored. There was less than 25% change at 3 sites and more than 25% increase at 4 sites. Multiple distinct increases and decreases were observed in many data plots.

Conclusion
The results of this study indicate that manipulation induces a virtually immediate change, usually a reduction, in resting EMG levels in at least some patients with low back pain and tight paraspinal muscle bundles. In some cases, EMG activity increased during the treatment protocol and then usually, but not always, decreased to a level lower than the pretreatment level.

a Associate Professor, Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, Davenport, Iowa; and Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

b Professor, Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, Davenport, Iowa; and Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

c Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

Submit requests for reprints to: James W. DeVocht, DC, PhD, Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, 741 Brady Street, Davenport, IA 52803, USA

Sources of support: This project was internally funded.

PII: S0161-4754(05)00180-6

doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2005.07.002

© 2005 National University of Health Sciences". Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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