Microcirculation in the upper trapezius muscle during sustained shoulder load in healthy women an endurance study using percutaneous laser-Doppler flowmetry and surface electromyography

  • Sven-Erik Larsson
  • Hongming Cai
  • Qiuxia Zhang
  • Romy Larsson
  • P. Åke Öberg
Original Article


Microcirculation in the upper portion of the trapezius muscle was measured percutaneously in a group of 16 healthy women of different ages by continuous laser-Doppler flowmetry (LDF) in relation to electromyography (EMG) during an endurance test. During the measurements the subject kept her arms straight and elevated at 45° in the scapular plane and held a 1-kg load in each hand as long as possible. This was followed by rest with the arms hanging and carrying no load. The 10-min recording period comprised 1-min initial rest followed by the endurance test and then recovery. Signal processing was done by computer on line. The LDF and root-mean-square (rms) EMG signals were normalized. Spectrum analyses of EMG mean power frequency (MPF) were performed. The amount of load produced was on average 2,267 (SD 939) N · m · s, i.e. shoulder torque × time expressed as Newton meter seconds, and the endurance time was 4.3 (SD 1.20) min. The rms-EMG as well as the LDF increased significantly during endurance, both when related to endurance time and to amount of load. The MPF showed no significant changes. The mean total increase in muscle blood flow was 175% of that recorded in the initial rest period. The average increase per each 10 s of contraction was 2.9%. Maximum was reached during the 1st min of recovery followed by a fall to the base level that was reached within 77 s on average. The amount of load produced and the blood flow increase was smaller than that found in a separate study of men, indicating a lower functional capacity. This may be of importance for the development of neck-shoulder disability in women.

Key words

Trapezius muscle perfusion Laser-Doppler flowmetry Muscle fatigue Endurance Electromyography 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sven-Erik Larsson
    • 1
  • Hongming Cai
    • 2
  • Qiuxia Zhang
    • 1
  • Romy Larsson
    • 1
  • P. Åke Öberg
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsUniversity HospitalLinköpingSweden
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical EngineeringUniversity HospitalLinköpingSweden

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