Pain-evoked trunk muscle activity changes during fatigue and DOMS
BACKGROUND:Muscle pain may reorganize trunk muscle activity but interactions with exercise-related muscle fatigue and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is to be clarified.METHODS:In 19 healthy participants, the trunk muscle activity during 20 multi-directional unpredictable surface perturbations were recorded after bilateral isotonic saline injections (control) and during unilateral and bilateral hypertonic saline-induced low back pain (LBP) in conditions of back muscle fatigue (Day-1) and DOMS (Day-2). Pain intensity and distribution were assessed by visual analogue scale (VAS) scores and pain drawings. The degree of fatigue and DOMS were assessed by Likert scale scores. Root-mean-square electromyographic (RMS-EMG) signals were recorded post-perturbation from six bilateral trunk muscles and the difference from baseline conditions (Delta-RMS-EMG) was extracted and averaged across abdominal and back muscles.RESULTS:In DOMS, peak VAS scores were higher during bilateral control and bilateral saline-induced pain than fatigue (p < 0.001) and during bilateral compared with unilateral pain (p < 0.001). The saline-induced pain areas were larger during DOMS than fatigue (p < 0.01). In response to surface perturbations during fatigue and DOMS, the back muscle Delta-RMS-EMG increased during bilateral compared with unilateral pain and control injections (p < 0.001) and decreased during unilateral pain compared with control injections (p < 0.04). In DOMS compared with fatigue, the post-perturbation Delta-RMS-EMG in back muscles was higher during bilateral pain and lower during unilateral pain (p < 0.001). The abdominal Delta-RMS-EMG was not significantly affected.CONCLUSION:Facilitated and attenuated back muscle responses to surface perturbations in bilateral and unilateral LBP, respectively, was more expressed during exercise-induced back muscle soreness compared with fatigue.SIGNIFICANCE:Back muscle activity decreased during unilateral and increased during bilateral pain after unpredictable surface perturbations during muscle fatigue and DOMS. Accumulation effects of DOMS on pain intensity and spreading and trunk muscle activity after pain-induction.