Spinal Pain Research Laboratory

Spinal Pain Research Laboratory

Head of Laboratory: Prof. Dr. Deborah Falla


Laboratory activities

This Laboratory focuses on two of the most common musculoskeletal complaints; low back pain and neck pain. Studies are conducted to investigate the neural control of the spine in normal conditions and evaluate changes in the presence of spinal pain. The laboratory utilizes multiple and parallel experimental techniques including multichannel surface EMG, intramuscular EMG, pressure pain threshold mapping, motion analysis and force measurements to quantify alterations in neuromuscular control of the spine. The knowledge gained through such studies contributes to the development of contemporary rehabilitation programs for patients with spinal pain. Additional aims of the Laboratory are the design and evaluation of training programs for the management of spinal pain.

Representative directional activation curves obtained from the right sternocleidomastoid muscle during a circular contraction performed at 15 N are presented for a control subject and a patient with chronic neck pain


Representative recent publications

Falla D, O'Leary S, Farina D, Jull G. The Change in Deep Cervical Flexor Activity After Training is Associated With The Degree of Pain Reduction in Patients With Chronic Neck Pain. Clin J Pain. 2012 Sep;28(7):628-34.

Schomacher J, Dideriksen JL, Farina D, Falla D. Recruitment of Motor Units in Two Fascicles of The Semispinalis Cervicis Muscle. J Neurophysiol. 2012 Jun;107(11):3078-85.

Lindstroem R, Graven-Nielsen T, Falla D. Current Pain and Fear of Pain Contribute to Reduced Maximum Voluntary Contraction of Neck Muscles in  Patients With Chronic Neck Pain. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Apr 27. [Epub ahead of print]

Schomacher J, Boudreau S, Petzke F, Falla D. Localized Pressure Pain Sensitivity is Associated With Lower Activation of the Semispinalis Cervicis Muscle in Patients With Chronic Neck Pain. Clin J Pain [Epub ahead of print]

Falla D, Gizzi L, Tschapek M, Petzke F. Multiple and Parallel Experimental Approaches in Patients With Spinal Pain. In Book of Abstracts of the Deutscher Schmerzkongress, Mannheim, Germany, 17-20 October, 2012. Page 19

Falla D, Jull G. Neuromuscular Adaptations in Neck Pain and the Role of Training in Rehabilitation. In: Motor control and motor learning in rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders. Roeijezon U. Studentlitteratur. 2013