Cervical paraspinal spontaneous activity in asymptomatic subjects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Paraspinal fibrillation potentials or positive sharp waves (PSWs) reportedly may be the only electrodiagnostic abnormality in patients with radiculopathies. However, spontaneous activity may be present in muscles of asymptomatic subjects. To determine whether abnormal spontaneous activity in the cervical paraspinal muscles is clinically relevant, we evaluated the prevalence of such activity in asymptomatic individuals and examined its relationship with age. Sixty-six asymptomatic subjects underwent a needle electromyographic examination of the paraspinal muscles bilaterally at the C5/6 and C6/7 levels. All of the recorded potentials were captured and their firing rates and waveforms were evaluated. The potentials were considered to be abnormal if reproducible trains of PSWs or fibrillation potentials were present. Eight of the 66 (12%) subjects showed PSWs, five bilaterally; none showed fibrillation potentials. A statistical analysis for the effect of age could not be performed due to the small sample size. Because electromyographic cervical paraspinal abnormalities can be found in asymptomatic subjects, caution should be exercised when attributing the etiology of neck pain to radiculopathy if the only electrodiagnostic findings are electromyographic cervical paraspinal abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-364
Number of pages4
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Sep 1

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Cervical radiculopathy
  • Fibrillation potentials
  • Paraspinal muscles
  • Positive sharp waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this