Dynamic surface electromyographic responses in chronic low back pain treated by traditional bone setting and conventional physical therapy

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2007 Jan;30(1):31-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2006.11.010.


Objective: This study compared the dynamic surface electromyographic (EMG) activities of back muscles and pain before and after traditional bone setting and physical therapy.

Methods: This study was a prospective clinical trial that compared surface EMG dynamic activities after traditional bone setting and physical therapy. Sixty-one patients (mean age, 41 years) with nonspecific low back pain were randomized into two subgroups by treatment. The patients underwent a dynamic EMG evaluation for which they were asked to stand and then bend forward as far as possible, stay fully flexed, and return to standing. A flexion-relaxation ratio was calculated by comparing maximal EMG activity while flexing with the average EMG activity in full flexion. Concentric (maximal EMG activity during extension) and eccentric (maximal EMG activity during flexion) ratios were also used in the analyses.

Results: Disability, depression, and visual analog scale scores decreased significantly after both treatments. The concentric ratio increased statistically in both groups after the treatments. The study failed to show a significant association between experienced back pain and EMG parameters.

Conclusions: Both treatments seem to have a positive influence on back muscle function by improving muscle symmetry; however, the treatments had no effect on the flexion-relaxation phenomenon after 1 month. Active back exercise at home together with rehabilitation treatments might be effective and improve function for patients with chronic low back pain.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Electromyography*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Male
  • Manipulation, Chiropractic / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Pain Measurement
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Treatment Outcome