The effects of whole-body electromyostimulation (WB-EMS) in comparison to a multimodal treatment concept in patients with non-specific chronic back pain: A prospective clinical intervention study

Karl Lorenz Konrad, Jean-Pierre Baeyens, Christof Birkenmaier, Anna Ranker, Jonas Widmann, Johannes Leukert, Lisa Wenisch, Eduard Kraft, Volkmar Jansson, Bernd Wegener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
129 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: According to present guidelines, active exercise is one key component in the comprehensive treatment of nonspecific chronic back pain (NSCBP). Whole body electromyostimulation (WB-EMS) is a safe, and time-effective training method, that may be effective in NSCBP-patients.
METHODS: In this prospective and controlled nonrandomized clinical study, two therapeutic approaches were compared. One group received 20 minutes WB-EMS per week. An active control group (ACG) received a multimodal therapy program. A third group included subjects without back pain. To all groups, the following measurement instruments were applied: Numeric Rating Scale (NRS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), North American Spine Society Instrument (NASS); SF 36 survey and measurements for muscular function and postural stability. In the EMS-group: T0: baseline; T1: at 6 weeks; T2: at 12 weeks and T3: at 24 weeks. In the ACG: T0 baseline and T1 after 4 weeks.
RESULTS: In the intervention group, 128 patients with low back pain were enrolled, 85 in the WB-EMS group and 43 in the ACG. 34 subjects were allocated to the passive control group. The average age was 58.6 years (18-86 years). In the EMS group, the NRS (1-10) improved statistically and clinically significantly by 2 points. The ODI was reduced by 19.7 points. The NASS and most of the SF 36 items improved significantly. In the multimodal treatment group, only the muscular function improved slightly.
CONCLUSION: Our data support the hypothesis that WB-EMS is at least as effective as a multimodal treatment, which is often referred to as being the golden standard. Therefore WB-EMS may be an effective and, with 20 min./week training time, very time-efficient alternative to established multimodal treatment models.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0236780
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume15
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Konrad et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Copyright:
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • WB-EMS
  • neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES),
  • non specific chronic back pain (NSCBP)
  • back pain

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