Gain of postural responses increases in response to real and anticipated pain.

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TitreGain of postural responses increases in response to real and anticipated pain.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Année de Publication2015
AuthorsHodges PW, Tsao H, Sims K
JournalExp Brain Res
Date Published2015 Sep

This study tested two contrasting theories of adaptation of postural control to pain. One proposes alteration to the postural strategy including inhibition of muscles that produce painful movement; another proposes amplification of the postural adjustment to recruit strategies normally reserved for higher load. This study that aimed to determine which of these alternatives best explains pain-related adaptation of the hip muscle activity associated with stepping down from steps of increasing height adaptation of postural control to increasing load was evaluated from hip muscle electromyography (fine-wire and surface electrodes) as ten males stepped from steps of increasing height (i.e. increasing load). In one set of trials, participants stepped from a low step (5 cm) and pain was induced by noxious electrical stimulation over the sacrum triggered from foot contact with a force plate or was anticipated. Changes in EMG amplitude and onset timing were compared between conditions. Hip muscle activation was earlier and larger when stepping from higher steps. Although ground reaction forces (one of the determinants of joint load) were unchanged before, during and after pain, trials with real or anticipated noxious stimulation were accompanied by muscle activity indistinguishable from that normally reserved for higher steps (EMG amplitude increased from 9 to 17 % of peak). These data support the notion that muscle activation for postural control is augmented when challenged by real/anticipated noxious stimulation. Muscle activation was earlier and greater than that required for the task and is likely to create unnecessary joint loading. This could have long-term consequences if maintained.

PubMed ID26105752