Stiffness of resting lumbar myofascia in healthy young subjects quantified using a handheld myotonometer and concurrently with surface electromyography monitoring

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2016 Apr;20(2):388-96. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2015.12.005. Epub 2015 Dec 24.


This study aimed to non-invasively quantify passive stiffness of superficial myofascia at a lower lumbar (L3-L4) anatomical level in young healthy male and female subjects and investigate its possible morphological variation. Resting prone lumbar myofascial measurements were quantified using MyotonPro(®) and statistically analyzed in 20 young healthy individuals over 3-weekly intervals, concurrently with surface electromyography (sEMG). Averaged mean ± SE stiffness (Newton/meter) over three weeks was significantly (p < 0.001) greater in males (247.8 ± 11.3) than females (208.4 ± 11.3), on the right (237.7 ± 12.8) than left sides (218.5 ± 12.3), at 10-min (231.4 ± 9.1) than initial baseline (224.8 ± 9.1) values. A polymorphism of stiffness values in 10 male and 10 female subjects was suggested by box plot analyses of the 3 weekly measurements and greater inter-individual than intra-individual variances. Greater knowledge of lumbar myofascial stiffness can improve understanding of their contributions in health and chronic low back disorders.

Keywords: Biomechanics; Lumbar; Myofascial stiffness; MyotonPro; Passive property; Surface electromyography.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lumbosacral Region / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / physiopathology*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Prone Position / physiology*
  • Rest / physiology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult