Comparison of electrical nerve stimulation, electrical muscle stimulation and magnetic nerve stimulation to assess the neuromuscular function of the plantar flexor muscles

Daria Neyroud, John Temesi, Guillaume Y. Millet, Samuel Verges, Nicola A. Maffiuletti, Bengt Kayser, Nicolas Place*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: As it might lead to less discomfort, magnetic nerve stimulation (MNS) is increasingly used as an alternative to electrical stimulation methods. Yet, MNS and electrical nerve stimulation (ENS) and electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) have not been formally compared for the evaluation of plantar flexor neuromuscular function. Methods: We quantified plantar flexor neuromuscular function with ENS, EMS and MNS in 10 volunteers in fresh and fatigued muscles. Central alterations were assessed through changes in voluntary activation level (VAL) and peripheral function through changes in M-wave, twitch and doublet (PS100) amplitudes. Discomfort associated with 100-Hz paired stimuli delivered with each method was evaluated on a 10-cm visual analog scale. Results: VAL, agonist and antagonist M-wave amplitudes and PS100 were similar between the different methods in both fresh and fatigued states. Potentiated peak twitch was lower in EMS compared to ENS, whereas no difference was found between ENS and MNS for any parameter. Discomfort associated with MNS (1.5 ± 1.4 cm) was significantly less compared to ENS (5.5 ± 1.9 cm) and EMS (4.2 ± 2.6 cm) (p < 0.05). Conclusion: When PS100 is used to evaluate neuromuscular properties, MNS, EMS and ENS can be used interchangeably for plantar flexor neuromuscular function assessment as they provide similar evaluation of central and peripheral factors in unfatigued and fatigued states. Importantly, electrical current spread to antagonist muscles was similar between the three methods while discomfort from MNS was much less compared to ENS and EMS. MNS may be potentially employed to assess neuromuscular function of plantar flexor muscles in fragile populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1429-1439
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Volume115
Issue number7
Early online date15 Feb 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

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