Greater Resting Lumbar Extensor Myofascial Stiffness in Younger Ankylosing Spondylitis Patients Than Age-Comparable Healthy Volunteers Quantified by Myotonometry

Published:August 05, 2015DOI:



      To quantify resting lumbar erector myofascial stiffness in younger patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and age-comparable healthy control subjects using a handheld mechanical impulse-based myotonometric device.


      A case-control study of 24 patients with AS and 24 age-comparable healthy control subjects.


      University physical therapy department.


      Patients with AS (men: n=19; women: n=5; total: N=24) and healthy volunteers (men: n=19; women: n=5; total: N=24) without low back pain (age range, 18–46y).


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measure

      Lumbar myofascial stiffness.


      At the initial measurements, median stiffness (Nm) of the averaged right- and left-sided values was greater ( P=.021) in 24 patients with AS than 24 control subjects (268.9 vs 238.9, respectively). Repeated measurements after a 10-minute prone resting period were also greater ( P=.007) in patients with AS than control subjects (281.0 vs 241.4, respectively). The 48 averaged right- and left-sided values from baseline and 10-minute measurements were compared in each subject group. The patients with AS more frequently ( P=.012) had stiffness values >250Nm (35 [72.9%] vs 22 [45.8%] in control subjects).


      Lumbar myofascial stiffness was greater in 24 patients with AS than in the control subjects. A hypothesized biomechanical concept of increased resting lumbar myofascial stiffness in AS may be supported by this preliminary controlled study.


      List of abbreviations:

      AS ( ankylosing spondylitis), BMI ( body mass index), CNS ( central nervous system), sEMG ( surface electromyography)
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