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

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Methods

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).

Results

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%).

Conclusion

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.

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Abbreviations

ANOVA:

Analysis of variance

CI:

Confidence interval

CV:

Coefficient of variation

D :

Decrement (elasticity)

D m :

Muscle displacement

ES:

Erector spinae

F :

Frequency (muscle tone)

FTL:

Fascia thoracolumbalis

ICC:

Intraclass correlation coefficient

LBP:

Low back pain

MDC:

Minimum detectable change

MMT:

Myotonometry

QAREL:

Quality Appraisal of Reliability Studies Checklist

S :

Stiffness

SEM:

Standard error of measurement

T c :

Time of contraction

TMG:

Tensiomyography

V c :

Velocity of contraction

References

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank Dr. Susann Wolff for statistical consultancy.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

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.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Christine Lohr.

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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.

Additional information

Communicated by Toshio Moritani.

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Cite this article

Lohr, C., Braumann, KM., Reer, R. et al. Reliability of tensiomyography and myotonometry in detecting mechanical and contractile characteristics of the lumbar erector spinae in healthy volunteers. Eur J Appl Physiol 118, 1349–1359 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-018-3867-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-018-3867-2

Keywords

  • Paraspinal muscles
  • Mechanomyography
  • Repeatability
  • Muscle contraction