Sensorimotor control of the spine

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2002 Jun;12(3):219-34. doi: 10.1016/s1050-6411(02)00028-7.


The spinal viscoelastic structures including disk, capsule and ligaments were reviewed with special focus on their sensory motor functions. Afferent capable of monitoring proprioceptive and kinesthetic information are abundant in the disc, capsule and ligament. Electrical stimulation of the lumbar afferents in the discs, capsules and ligaments seem to elicit reflex contraction of the multifidus and also longissimus muscles. The muscular excitation is pronounced in the level of excitation and with weaker radiation 1 to 2 levels above and below. Similarly, mechanical stimulation of the spinal viscoelastic tissues excites the muscles with higher excitation intensity when more than one tissue (ligaments and discs for example) is stimulated. Overall, it seems that spinal structures are well suited to monitor sensory information as well as to control spinal muscles and probably also provide kinesthetic perception to the sensory cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc / physiopathology*
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiology*
  • Reflex / physiology*
  • Sacroiliac Joint / physiopathology*
  • Spine / innervation
  • Spine / physiology*