Reliability of tensiomyography and myotonometry in detecting mechanical and contractile characteristics of the lumbar erector spinae in healthy volunteers
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Tensiomyography™ (TMG) and MyotonPRO® (MMT) are two non-invasive devices for monitoring muscle contractile and mechanical characteristics. This study aimed to evaluate the test–retest reliability of TMG and MMT parameters for measuring (TMG:) muscle displacement (Dm), contraction time (Tc), and velocity (Vc) and (MMT:) frequency (F), stiffness (S), and decrement (D) of the erector spinae muscles (ES) in healthy adults. A particular focus was set on the establishment of reliability measures for the previously barely evaluated secondary TMG parameter Vc.
Twenty-four subjects (13 female and 11 male, mean ± SD, 38.0 ± 12.0 years) were measured using TMG and MMT over 2 consecutive days. Absolute and relative reliability was calculated by standard error of measurement (SEM, SEM%), Minimum detectable change (MDC, MDC%), coefficient of variation (CV%) and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC, 3.1) with a 95% confidence interval (CI).
The ICCs for all variables and test–retest intervals ranged from 0.75 to 0.99 indicating a good to excellent relative reliability for both TMG and MMT, demonstrating the lowest values for TMG Tc and between-day MMT D (ICC < 0.90). Absolute reliability was suitable for all parameters (CV 2–8%) except for Dm (10–12%). Vc demonstrated to be the most reliable and repeatable TMG parameter (ICC > 0.95, CV < 8%).
The reliability for TMG Vc could be established successfully. Its further applicability needs to be confirmed in future studies. MMT was found to be more reliable on repeated testing than the two other TMG parameters Dm and Tc.
KeywordsParaspinal muscles Mechanomyography Repeatability Muscle contraction
Analysis of variance
Coefficient of variation
Frequency (muscle tone)
Intraclass correlation coefficient
Low back pain
Minimum detectable change
Quality Appraisal of Reliability Studies Checklist
Standard error of measurement
Time of contraction
Velocity of contraction
The authors thank Dr. Susann Wolff for statistical consultancy.
CL conceived, coordinated and designed the study, and wrote the manuscript. K-MB and RR made suggestions that improved the design and JS helped with the editing of the manuscript. TS contributed to the study design, and editing, reviewed the study protocol, and helped in the drafting of the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the current manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that the research was performed without any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
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