M. Kramer, C. Dehner, E. Hartwig, H. U. Völker, J. Sterk, M. Elbel, E. Weikert, H. Gerngroß, L. Kinzl, C. Willy
February 2005, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 578 - 585 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-004-0857-3
First Online: 08 February 2005
Simultaneous measurement of intramuscular pressure (IMP), tissue oxygen partial pressure (pO2) and EMG fatigue parameters in the multifidus muscle during a fatigue-inducing sustained muscular contraction. The study investigated the following hypotheses: (1) Increases in IMP result in tissue hypoxia; (2) Tissue hypoxia is responsible for loss of function in the musculature. The nutrient supply to muscle during muscle contraction is still not fully understood. It is assumed that muscle contraction causes increased tissue pressure resulting in compromised perfusion and tissue hypoxia. This tissue hypoxia, in turn, leads to muscle fatigue and therefore to loss of function. To the authors’ knowledge, no study has addressed IMP, pO2 and EMG fatigue parameters in the same muscle to gain a deeper sight into muscle perfusion during contraction. As back muscles need to have a constant muscular tension to maintain trunk stability during stance and locomotion, muscle fatigue due to prolonged contraction-induced hypoxia could be an explanation for low back pain. Sixteen healthy subjects performed an isometric muscular contraction exercise at 60% of maximum force until the point of localized muscular fatigue. During this exercise, the individual changes of IMP, pO2 and the median frequency (MF) of the surface EMG signal of the multifidus muscle were recorded simultaneously. In 12 subjects with a documented increase in intramuscular pressure, only five showed a decrease in tissue oxygen partial pressure, while this parameter remained unchanged in six other subjects and even increased in one. A fall in tissue pO2 was associated with a drop in MF in only five subjects, while there was no correlation between these parameters in the other 11 subjects. To summarize, an increase in IMP correlated with a decrease in pO2 and a drop in MF in only five out of 16 subjects. High intramuscular pressure values are not always associated with a hypoxia in muscle tissue. Tissue hypoxia is not automatically associated with a median frequency shift in the EMG signal’s power spectrum.
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