Persistence of low back pain is thought to be associated with different underlying pain mechanisms, including ongoing nociceptive input and central sensitisation. We hypothesised that primary motor cortex (M1) representations of back muscles (a measure of motor system adaptation) would differ between pain mechanisms, with more consistent observations in individuals presumed to have an ongoing contribution of nociceptive input consistently related to movement/posture. We tested 28 participants with low back pain sub-grouped by the presumed underlying pain mechanisms: nociceptive pain, nociplastic pain and a mixed group with features consistent with both. Transcranial magnetic stimulation was used to study M1 organisation of back muscles. M1 maps of multifidus (deep and superficial) and longissimus erector spinae were recorded with fine-wire electromyography and thoracic erector spinae with surface electromyography. The nociplastic pain group had greater variability in M1 map location (centre of gravity) than other groups (p <.01), which may suggest less consistency, and perhaps relevance, of motor cortex adaptation for that group. The mixed group had greater overlap of M1 representations between deep/superficial muscles than nociceptive pain (deep multifidus/longissimus: p =.001, deep multifidus/thoracic erector spinae: p =.008) and nociplastic pain (deep multifidus/longissimus: p =.02, deep multifidus/thoracic erector spinae: p =.02) groups. This study provides preliminary evidence of differences in M1 organisation in subgroups of low back pain classified by likely underlying pain mechanisms. Despite the sample size, differences in cortical re-organisation between subgroups were detected. Differences in M1 organisation in subgroups of low back pain supports tailoring of treatment based on pain mechanism and motor adaptation.
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Neurociencias General