original abstract†Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
Animal studies have shown that noxious inputs onto gamma-motoneurons can cause an increase in the activity of muscle spindles, and it has been proposed that this causes a fusimotor-driven increase in muscle stiffness that is believed to underlie many chronic pain syndromes. To test whether experimental pain also acts on the fusimotor system in humans, unitary recordings were made from 19 spindle afferents (12 Ia, 7 II) located in the ankle and toe extensors or peronei muscles of awake human subjects. Muscle pain was induced by bolus intramuscular injection of 0.5 ml 5% hypertonic saline into tibialis anterior (TA); skin pain was induced by 0.2 ml injection into the overlying skin. Changes in fusimotor drive to the muscle spindles were inferred from changes in the mean discharge frequency and discharge variability of spindle endings in relaxed muscle. During muscle pain no afferents increased their discharge activity: seven afferents (5 Ia, 2 II) showed a decrease and six (4 Ia, 2 II) afferents were not affected. During skin pain of 13 afferents discharge rate increased in one (Ia) and decreased in two (1 Ia, 1 II). On average, the overall discharge rate decreased during muscle pain by 6.1% (P < 0.05; Wilcoxon), but remained essentially the same during skin pain. There was no detectable correlation between subjective pain level and the small change in discharge rate of muscle spindles. Irrespective of the type of pain, discharge variability parameters were not influenced (P> 0.05; Wilcoxon). We conclude that, contrary to the ‘vicious cycle’ hypothesis, acute activation of muscle or skin nociceptors does not cause a reflex increase in fusimotor drive in humans. Rather, our results are more aligned with the pain adaptation model, based on clinical studies predicting pain-induced reductions of agonist muscle activity.
One article on PainScience.com cites Birznieks 2008 as a source:
- PS Cramps, Spasms, Tremors & Twitches — The biology and treatment of unwanted muscle contractions
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- A Bayesian model-averaged meta-analysis of the power pose effect with informed and default priors: the case of felt power. Gronau 2017 Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology.
- The neck and headaches. Bogduk 2014 Neurol Clin.
- Agreement of self-reported items and clinically assessed nerve root involvement (or sciatica) in a primary care setting. Konstantinou 2012 Eur Spine J.
- Effect of NSAIDs on Recovery From Acute Skeletal Muscle Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Morelli 2017 Am J Sports Med.
- Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Paige 2017 JAMA.