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


Manickaraj, N and Bisset, L and Devanaboyina, VSPT and Kavanagh, JJ, Chronic pain alters spatiotemporal activation patterns of forearm muscle synergies during the development of grip force, Journal of Neurophysiology, 118 pp. 2132-2141. ISSN 0022-3077 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 the American Physiological Society

DOI: doi:10.1152/jn.00210.2017


It is largely unknown how the CNS regulates multiple muscle systems in the presence of pain. This study used muscle synergy analysis to investigate multiple forearm muscles in individuals with chronic elbow pain during the development of grip force. Eleven individuals with chronic elbow pain and 11 healthy age-matched control subjects developed grip force to 15% and 30% of maximum voluntary contraction (MVC). Surface electromyography was obtained from six forearm muscles during force development before nonnegative matrix factorization was performed. The relationship between muscle synergies and standard clinical tests of elbow pain were examined by linear regression. During grip force development to 15% MVC the pain group had a lower number of forearm muscle synergies, increased similarity in spatial activation patterns, increased cocontraction of forearm flexors, and a greater magnitude of muscle weightings across the forearm when performing the task. During the 30% MVC grip the numbers of muscle synergies were the same for both groups; however, the pain group had lower activation and reduced variability in the timing of peak activation. The timing of peak activation was delayed in the pain group regardless of the task, and performing the grip in different wrist postures did not affect muscle synergy characteristics in either group. Although localized pain causes direct dysfunction of an affected muscle, this study provides evidence that the timing and amplitude of agonist and antagonist muscle activity are also affected with chronic pain.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:pain, motor control, muscle synergy, tennis elbow
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Sports science and exercise
Research Field:Motor control
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions
UTAS Author:Manickaraj, N (Dr Nagarajan Manickaraj)
ID Code:148370
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:12
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2022-01-04
Last Modified:2022-08-23

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