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. 2009 May;10(2):45-50.
doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2008.12.002. Epub 2009 Mar 3.

Upper and Lower Trapezius Muscle Activity in Subjects With Subacromial Impingement Symptoms: Is There Imbalance and Can Taping Change It?

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Upper and Lower Trapezius Muscle Activity in Subjects With Subacromial Impingement Symptoms: Is There Imbalance and Can Taping Change It?

Mike Smith et al. Phys Ther Sport. .

Abstract

Objectives: To investigate (i) whether subacromial impingement symptoms (SIS) were associated with upper and lower trapezius muscle imbalance and (ii) the effect of a scapula taping technique on upper and lower trapezius muscle activity.

Design: Cross-sectional study with nested within-subject intervention.

Setting: University research laboratory.

Participants: Subjects who demonstrated SIS (n=16) on clinical testing and an age and gender matched group of asymptomatic subjects (n=32).

Main outcome measures: Surface electromyography (EMG) to measure activity in the upper (UFT) and lower (LFT) fibres of trapezius during repeated humeral elevation in the scapular plane.

Results: Symptomatic subjects demonstrated a significantly (95% CI 2.13 to 4.17, p=0.019) higher ratio of UFT:LFT activity than the asymptomatic subjects (95% CI 1.35 to 2.25). With tape in situ the symptomatic subjects demonstrated a significant (95% CI -8.6% to -17.3%, p<0.001) reduction in UFT activity but no significant (95% CI +2.8% to -17.5%, p=0.145) change in activity of LFT. No relationship (r=- 0.116, p=0.669) was found between the degree of underlying muscle imbalance and the reduction in UFT under the taped condition for the symptomatic group.

Conclusion: Subacromial impingement symptoms are associated with altered upper and lower trapezius muscle activity which can be partially addressed by the application of tape.

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