Studies on maximal voluntary muscle contraction in patients with fibromyalgia (FM)

In view of clinical experience of a low-force output in testing

situations in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FS), this

study evaluated the possibility of reaching a higher muscular

performance by use of superimposed electrical stimulation: the

tests mainly involved knee-extension in a Kin Com dynamometer.

Twenty-five patients fulfilling the criteria of FS were

compared with 22 healthy subjects. The patients showed a

markedly reduced maximal voluntary contraction, but

superimposed electrical stimulation revealed submaximal

values. The electromyographic activity during stool climbing

exceeded that recorded during maximum voluntary contraction

during the dynamometric test. The cause of the reduced

voluntary maximal performance is discussed.

An impaired control mechanism at a supraspinal level is

suggested. This has to be considered when measuring muscle

strength in FS patients. Tests related to functional

activities are recommended as measures of muscular performance

in this patient group.

Lindh MH, Johansson LG, Hedberg M, Grimby GL

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