The effects of whole body electromyostimulation (WB-EMS) in patients with non-specific chronic back pain compared to a multimodal therapy concept

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 journalConference paper


Question: According to the national care guidelines for chronic non-specific low back pain, active exercise and regular physical activity are the most effective treatments. However, sport often does not play an important role in the lives of the patients concerned. They also often have limitations in their mobility due to degenerative diseases of other joints. Therefore, ways have to be found to make movement easier for physically passive people. The use of electric stimulation to train individual muscles has been established in physiotherapy for decades. In the fitness area, training whole body electromyostimulation (WB-EMS) is becoming increasingly popular. Therefore, the idea of using this training instrument for back pain patients is obvious.
METHODOLOGY: In a clinical study, 85 patients with chronic nonspecific back pain were included and completed WB-EMS training once a week for 20 minutes for 6 months. Two comparison groups were formed. In a control group, 43 patients from a multimodal therapy program representing guideline-based therapy could be included. A control group with 34 healthy subjects enables to compare the parameters. Back pain (NRS), ODI, NASS, SF-36 and HADS scores were examined. Postural parameters (MFT-S3-check) and strength parameters (Leonardo GFRP, Leonardo stair) at the beginning of the study, after 6 weeks, 3 months and after completion of the training.Conclusion:Both therapy groups were able to significantly reduce the back pain level in the NRS and the pain-specific parts of the clinical scores. The depression-specific scores only showed a tendency to improve. The strength parameters in the WB-EMS group were improved in the chair-rising test and in the stair-climb test. The patients in the multimodal pain program showed significant improvements in the trunk-rise test, the chair-rise test and the stair-climb test. No significant improvements could be achieved in the single-two-leg jump. Patients with chronic non-specific back pain could benefit from WB-EMS. They achieved clinically comparable results on a multimodal therapy concept, so that WB-EMS seems to be a useful form of therapeutic movement for this patient group.
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)195 - 196
Number of pages2
JournalSports Orthopaedics and Traumatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020
Event35. Jahreskongress der Gesellschaft für Orthopädisch-Traumatologische Sportmedizin (GOTS) - Berlin, Germany
Duration: 18 Jun 202019 Jun 2020


  • WB-EMS
  • Back Pain
  • electromyostimulation


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