European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 5, pp 1085–1091 | Cite as

Effects of the trunk position on muscle stiffness that reflects elongation of the lumbar erector spinae and multifidus muscles: an ultrasonic shear wave elastography study

  • Mitsuhiro MasakiEmail author
  • Xiang Ji
  • Taishi Yamauchi
  • Hiroshige Tateuchi
  • Noriaki Ichihashi
Original Article



The present study aimed to clarify the effects of the trunk position on muscle stiffness that reflects elongation of the lumbar erector spinae and lumbar multifidus muscles using ultrasonic shear wave elastography (SWE).


The study included ten healthy men. The shear elastic modulus of the left lumbar erector spinae and lumbar multifidus muscles were evaluated using ultrasonic SWE. Measurement postures for the left lumbar erector spinae muscle were (1) prone position (Rest), (2) sitting position with the trunk flexed (Flexion), (3) the Flexion position adding right trunk lateral flexion (Flexion-Lateral Flexion), and (4) the Flexion position adding right trunk rotation (Flexion-Rotation 1). The left lumbar multifidus muscle were measured in positions (1)–(3), and (5) the Flexion position adding left trunk rotation (Flexion-Rotation 2).


The shear elastic modulus of the lumbar erector spinae muscle in the Flexion-Lateral Flexion position was significantly higher than that in the Rest, Flexion, or Flexion-Rotation 1 positions. Shear elastic modulus of the lumbar multifidus muscle was similar in the Flexion, Flexion-Lateral Flexion, and Flexion-Rotation 2 positions, but significantly lower in the Rest position.


The results of the present study suggest that the lumbar erector spinae muscle is stretched effectively in the position adding trunk contralateral lateral flexion to flexion. The results also indicate that the lumbar multifidus muscle, which does not appear to be affected by adding trunk contralateral lateral flexion or ipsilateral rotation to flexion, is stretched effectively in the trunk flexion position.


Paraspinal muscles Muscle elongation Muscle stiffness Ultrasonography 



Intraclass correlation coefficient


Low back pain


Moment arm


Region of interest


Shear wave elastography



This study was supported by the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) 15H03043. The authors wish to thank all of the individuals who participated in the present study.

Author contributions

All authors conceived and designed the research. MM, XJ, and TY conducted experiments. MM and XJ analyzed data. MM, HT, and NI wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest. No funding sources were used for the present study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mitsuhiro Masaki
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Xiang Ji
    • 3
  • Taishi Yamauchi
    • 4
  • Hiroshige Tateuchi
    • 3
  • Noriaki Ichihashi
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Physical TherapyNiigata University of Health and WelfareNiigataJapan
  2. 2.Institute for Human Movement and Medical SciencesNiigata University of Health and WelfareNiigataJapan
  3. 3.Department of Physical Therapy, Human Health Sciences, Graduate School of MedicineKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  4. 4.Department of RehabilitationAnshin ClinicKobeJapan

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