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Muscle Fatigue Linked to Decreased Postural Stability

In inspiratory muscles fatigue, patients with, without back pain use similar posture strategy

THURSDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with no low back pain who have had inspiratory muscles fatigue (IMF) use a postural control strategy similar to that of patients with low back pain, resulting in decreased postural stability and suggesting that IMF might have a role in the high recurrence rate of low back pain (LBP), according to research published in the May 1 issue of Spine.

Lotte Janssens, PT, of the University of Leuven in Belgium, and colleagues evaluated postural control in 16 people with LBP and 12 healthy controls before and after IMF to determine their postural stability and proprioceptive postural control strategies.

The researchers found that the control subjects showed a significantly larger sway while standing on an unstable support surface after IMF compared to an unfatigued condition, and that IMF induced an increased reliance in the healthy subjects on proprioceptive signals from the ankles. This resembled a postural control strategy that people with LBP use. Patients with LBP used the same ankle-steered postural strategy whether fatigued or not.

"After IMF, control subjects use a rigid proprioceptive postural control strategy, rather than the normal 'multi-segmental' control, which is similar to people with LBP. This results in decreased postural stability. These results suggest that IMF may be a factor in the high recurrence rate of LBP," the authors conclude.

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