I am going to have some muscle testing done for a chronic low back pain problem. Is it better to be tested when I'm having a relapse and the pain is at its worse--or when the pain has gone away?
That's a good question that even the researchers don't know the answer to yet. Studies are being done on patients in both situations. By comparing the results, scientists hope to be able to see how much difference there is in muscle strength before and after treatment.
They won't know how treatment affects strength and motor control if these factors vary during periods of increased or decreased pain. It may be best to get a baseline during both phases.
Michael Kramer, MD, et al. Surface Electromyography of the Paravertebral Muscles in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. January 2005. Vol. 86. No. 1. Pp. 31-36.