European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 118, Issue 7, pp 1349–1359 | Cite as

Reliability of tensiomyography and myotonometry in detecting mechanical and contractile characteristics of the lumbar erector spinae in healthy volunteers

  • Christine LohrEmail author
  • Klaus-Michael Braumann
  • Ruediger Reer
  • Jan Schroeder
  • Tobias Schmidt
Original Article



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.


Paraspinal muscles Mechanomyography Repeatability Muscle contraction 



Analysis of variance


Confidence interval


Coefficient of variation


Decrement (elasticity)


Muscle displacement


Erector spinae


Frequency (muscle tone)


Fascia thoracolumbalis


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.

Author contributions

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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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Osteopathic PraxisHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Osteopathie Schule Deutschland (OSD)HamburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Sports Medicine, Faculty for Psychology and Human Movement Science, Institute for Human Movement ScienceUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  4. 4.Osteopathic Research Institute (ORI)HamburgGermany

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