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Subclinical recurrent neck pain and its treatment impacts motor training-induced plasticity of the cerebellum and motor cortex

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posted on 2018-02-28, 00:00 authored by Julianne K Baarbé, Paul YielderPaul Yielder, Heidi Haavik, Michael W R Holmes, Bernadette Ann Murphy
The cerebellum processes pain inputs and is important for motor learning. Yet, how the cerebellum interacts with the motor cortex in individuals with recurrent pain is not clear. Functional connectivity between the cerebellum and motor cortex can be measured by a twin coil transcranial magnetic stimulation technique in which stimulation is applied to the cerebellum prior to stimulation over the motor cortex, which inhibits motor evoked potentials (MEPs) produced by motor cortex stimulation alone, called cerebellar inhibition (CBI). Healthy individuals without pain have been shown to demonstrate reduced CBI following motor acquisition. We hypothesized that CBI would not reduce to the same extent in those with mild-recurrent neck pain following the same motor acquisition task. We further hypothesized that a common treatment for neck pain (spinal manipulation) would restore reduced CBI following motor acquisition. Motor acquisition involved typing an eight-letter sequence of the letters Z,P,D,F with the right index finger. Twenty-seven neck pain participants received spinal manipulation (14 participants, 18-27 years) or sham control (13 participants, 19-24 years). Twelve healthy controls (20-27 years) also participated. Participants had CBI measured; they completed manipulation or sham control followed by motor acquisition; and then had CBI re-measured. Following motor acquisition, neck pain sham controls remained inhibited (58 ± 33% of test MEP) vs. healthy controls who disinhibited (98 ± 49% of test MEP, P<0.001), while the spinal manipulation group facilitated (146 ± 95% of test MEP, P<0.001). Greater inhibition in neck pain sham vs. healthy control groups suggests that neck pain may change cerebellar-motor cortex interaction. The change to facilitation suggests that spinal manipulation may reverse inhibitory effects of neck pain.

History

Journal

PLoS one

Volume

13

Issue

2

Article number

e0193413

Pagination

1 - 19

Publisher

Public Library of Science

Location

San Francisco, Calif.

eISSN

1932-6203

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, Baarbé et al.