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Electromyographic caracterisation in children and adolescents with non-specific chronic low back pain.





The majority of the worldwide population (80%) suffers from low back pain (LBP) over life. LBP becomes chronic (CLBP) in 10 to 15% of (all) adult cases yielding important functional and socio-economic adverse repercussions. The majority of LBP (85%) is classified as “non-specific” (NSCLBP), i.e. with an absence of any identified cause. LBP prevalence on children and adolescents is comparable to adults. Despite the low incidence of serious associated diseases, the fear of missing them increased patient’s exposure to radiation. However, an absence of significant correlation between radiology changes in the lower spine and low back pain was reported for school children. In this context, it is necessary to identify new tools, if possible non-irradiating and inexpensive, to identify specific characteristics of children and adolescents suffering from NSCLBP and thus improve the understanding of this pathology.An interesting tool, highlighted in adult population, is to evaluate surface electromyography (EMG) of low back muscles. Existing EMG phenomena were reported to discriminate adults with and without NSCLBP: reduced trunk muscle endurance, absence of flexion-relaxation phenomenon and guarding hypothesis during gait at different velocities. These EMG characteristics have not yet been confirmed for children and adolescents suffering of NSCLBP.This clinical context justifies the present doctoral work. The aim was to evaluate EMG characteristics in children and adolescents with NSCLBP in comparison with control participants. To achieve these objectives, several complementary studies were successively conducted.Taken together, the results of this doctoral work showed that the EMG characteristics frequently reported for NSCLBP in adults were absent or reduced in children and adolescent suffering from NSCLBP. These findings are inconsistent with the existing literature on adults and might affect the future therapeutic management of children and adolescents with NSCLBP, which is, to date, an imitation of the adult model. It would be interesting to confirm these results on the basis of a larger cohort and to reassess the same children and adolescents in adulthood to identify whether the EMG phenomenon, as known in NSCLBP adults, appears over time.

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