Whole-Body Electromyostimulation (WB-EMS) Training in patients with chronic unspecific back pain.

Karl Lorenz Konrad, Jean-Pierre Baeyens, Anna Ranker, Jonas Widmann, Volkmar Jansson, Bernd Wegener

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper


INTRODUCTION: The preferred intervention for treating patients with chronic nonspecific back pain, according to the German National Care Guideline, is active exercise and to establish regular exercise in daily life. The lifestyle of patients with chronic nonspecific back pain mostly does not include any sports. They also often suffer from limitations of their mobility due to degenerative diseases of further joints. Therefore, there is an urgent need to help physical passive people to enable them to exercise easier. The use of Electromyostimulation (EMS) in order to train specific muscles has been established in physiotherapy for decades. Within fitness industry, supported training by WB-EMS is becoming increasingly popular. Therefore, applying this kind of training seems logical in patients with chronic unspecific back pain. METHODS: In an ongoing prospective clinical trial, 49 patients with chronic nonspecific back pain have been enrolled for WB-EMS training. The average age is 53.7 years (27-85 years). The first evaluation takes place after 3 months. The training is carried out according to the usual recommendations in fitness training once a week for 20 minutes under the guidance of a trained physiotherapist. The core muscles are trained, upper and lower limbs. RESULTS: The pain sensation averages on the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS; 1-10) improved significantly by 1.198 (from 4.66 to 3.46, p <0.05). The Ostwestry Disability Index (ODI) improved significantly, resulting in a significant 3.37% reduction in disability (p <0.05). The NASS also achieved a significant improvement of 0.51 points (p <0.05). The pain value of the SF 36 questionnaire improved by 8.88 (p <0.05). The other SF-36 parameters also tended to improve without reaching significance levels. In the point "limitations due to emotional problems", no improvement could be achieved. In the HADS score, improvements could be found for depression and anxiety, but these changes were also not significant. CONCLUSION: By training with WB-EMS, all the back and pain parameters in the examined scores could be improved. It is thus an efficient training tool for people with chronic nonspecific back pain. In the further course of the study, the long-term effect will be evaluated by extending the training period. A comparison group with a traditional physiotherapy program will show the efficiency compared to a physiotherapeutic therapy concept.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts
Subtitle of host publicationof the 23rd Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science – 4th - 7th July 2018, Dublin – Ireland.
EditorsM. Murphy, C. Boreham, G. De Vito, E. Tsolakidis
Place of PublicationCologne, Germany
PublisherEuropean College of Sport Science
ChapterOP-BN24 Low back pain
Number of pages868
ISBN (Print)978-3-9818414-1-1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2018
Event23rd Annual Congress of the ECSS, Dublin, 2018 - Dubllin, Ireland
Duration: 4 Jul 20187 Jul 2018


Conference23rd Annual Congress of the ECSS, Dublin, 2018


  • WB-EMS
  • Back Pain
  • electromyostimulation


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