Firing rate and conduction velocity of single motor units in the trapezius muscle in fibromyalgia patients and healthy controls.

Abstract

Fibromyalgia is a common chronic pain condition in the population (2-4%), which often is associated with prominent negative consequences with respect to participation in daily activities. There are several reports in the literature concerning the effects of acute experimental pain on motor control. However, a more heterogeneous picture exists in the literature with respect to whether chronic pain conditions affect motor control. This study compares firing rate and conduction velocity (CV) of single motor units (MUs) in the trapezius muscle of fibromyalgia patients (FM) and healthy controls (CON). Multi-channel surface electromyography was used to estimate both MU firing rate and CV because this technique allows simultaneous estimation of both these variables and the measurements are easy and non-invasive. In this study, 29 FM and 30 CON subjects participated and performed isometric shoulder elevations using weights up to 4 kg. No significant differences in the firing rate of MUs in the trapezius muscle were found between the FM and CON groups (95% confidence interval was -1.9 and 1.3 pulses per second). There were no significant differences in CV between the groups at 1 and 2 kg load. However, the FM group had significantly higher CV in contractions without external load (p=0.004). We were unable to confirm the pain-adaptation model since no differences in firing rate between the two groups were found. CV was significantly higher in FM than in healthy controls; this might be due to alterations in histopathology and microcirculation.

Cite this paper

@article{Gerdle2008FiringRA, title={Firing rate and conduction velocity of single motor units in the trapezius muscle in fibromyalgia patients and healthy controls.}, author={B. Gerdle and Nils Ostlund and Christer Gr{\"{o}nlund and K. Roeleveld and J. Stefan Karlsson}, journal={Journal of electromyography and kinesiology : official journal of the International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology}, year={2008}, volume={18 5}, pages={707-16} }