Changes in Spinal Muscle Oxygenation and Perfusion During the Biering-Sørensen Test: Preliminary Results of a Study Employing NIRS-Based Muscle Oximetry

  • Andrea VranaEmail author
  • Felix Scholkmann
  • Brigitte Wirth
  • Martin Flueck
  • Barry Kim Humphreys
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1072)


Low back pain (LBP) is suggested to be related to deconditioning of back muscles by a decreased capacity for hyperemia in exercising muscles. However, only inconsistent evidence exists regarding back muscle perfusion and oxygen saturation in healthy subjects and patients suffering from (chronic) LBP. Aim: We measured muscle perfusion in healthy subjects during the Biering-Sørensen (BS) test (the gold standard for evaluating back muscle endurance) using a commercial near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) device. We analysed data sets of five female healthy subjects (age: 34 ± 15 years) who reached the maximum of 4 min during the BS test. Muscle oxygenation (SmO2) and perfusion ([tHb]) were measured using the Moxy NIRS device (Fortiori Design LLC, Hutchinson, USA). Probes were set unilaterally on M. longissimus, M. iliocostalis and M. multifidus. Additionally, mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), pulse pressure (PP), heart rate (HR), arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2) and lactate (pre, task, post) were measured. We observed (i) a large inter-subject variability in the SmO2 and [tHb] responses in the three muscles (i.e., SmO2 desaturations in the in M. longissimus across subjects during the task ranging from 1.1% to −56.6%), and (ii) a consistent response of the systemic signals in all subjects (i.e., increase in MAP, PP and HR). Lactate changes (post task minus task period) correlated with changes in PP and SmO2 of the multifidus muscle. Our preliminary results showed that during the BS test the response in the peripheral muscles was more variable than the central systemic response. A goal for future investigations is to explain this variability in the periphery by considering, for example, subject-specific changes in systemic cardiovascular activity, lactate and in the microvascular perfusion of muscle tissue.



We gratefully acknowledge funding by the Foundation for the Education of Chiropractors in Switzerland.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Vrana
    • 1
    Email author
  • Felix Scholkmann
    • 2
    • 3
  • Brigitte Wirth
    • 1
  • Martin Flueck
    • 4
  • Barry Kim Humphreys
    • 1
  1. 1.Integrative Spinal Research, Department of Chiropractic MedicineUniversity Hospital BalgristZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory (BORL), Department of NeonatologyUniversity Hospital Zurich, University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Scholkmann Data Analysis ServicesZurichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Laboratory for Muscle Plasticity, Department of OrthopedicsUniversity of Zurich, Balgrist CampusZurichSwitzerland

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