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Chronic pain alters spatiotemporal activation patterns of forearm muscle synergies during the development of grip force

Manickaraj, N, Bisset, L, Devanaboyina, VSPT and Kavanagh, JJ 2017 , 'Chronic pain alters spatiotemporal activation patterns of forearm muscle synergies during the development of grip force' , Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 118 , 2132–2141 , doi:

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It is largely unknown how the CNS regulatesmultiple muscle systems in the presence of pain. This study usedmuscle synergy analysis to investigate multiple forearm muscles inindividuals with chronic elbow pain during the development of gripforce. Eleven individuals with chronic elbow pain and 11 healthyage-matched control subjects developed grip force to 15% and 30% ofmaximum voluntary contraction (MVC). Surface electromyographywas obtained from six forearm muscles during force developmentbefore nonnegative matrix factorization was performed. The relationshipbetween muscle synergies and standard clinical tests of elbowpain were examined by linear regression. During grip force developmentto 15% MVC the pain group had a lower number of forearmmuscle synergies, increased similarity in spatial activation patterns,increased cocontraction of forearm flexors, and a greater magnitude ofmuscle weightings across the forearm when performing the task.During the 30% MVC grip the numbers of muscle synergies were thesame for both groups; however, the pain group had lower activationand reduced variability in the timing of peak activation. The timing ofpeak activation was delayed in the pain group regardless of the task,and performing the grip in different wrist postures did not affectmuscle synergy characteristics in either group. Although localizedpain causes direct dysfunction of an affected muscle, this studyprovides evidence that the timing and amplitude of agonist andantagonist muscle activity are also affected with chronic pain.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Manickaraj, N and Bisset, L and Devanaboyina, VSPT and Kavanagh, JJ
Keywords: pain, motor control, muscle synergy, tennis elbow
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Neurophysiology
Publisher: Amer Physiological Soc
ISSN: 0022-3077
DOI / ID Number:
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Copyright © 2017 the American Physiological Society

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