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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017, Article ID 8480429, 8 pages
Research Article

Effects of Whole-Body Electromyostimulation on Low Back Pain in People with Chronic Unspecific Dorsal Pain: A Meta-Analysis of Individual Patient Data from Randomized Controlled WB-EMS Trials

1Institute of Medical Physics, Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Henkestrasse 91, 91052 Erlangen, Germany
2Department of Sports Science, University of Kaiserslautern, Erwin-Schrödinger-Strasse, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany
3German Sport University Cologne, Am Sportpark Müngersdorf 6, 50933 Cologne, Germany
4Department of Medical and Life Sciences, University of Furtwangen, Neckarstrasse 6, 78056 Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany

Correspondence should be addressed to Wolfgang Kemmler; ed.negnalre-inu.pmi@relmmek.gnagflow

Received 25 August 2017; Accepted 20 September 2017; Published 18 October 2017

Academic Editor: Morry Silberstein

Copyright © 2017 Wolfgang Kemmler et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In order to evaluate the favorable effect of whole-body electromyostimulation (WB-EMS) on low back pain (LBP), an aspect which is frequently claimed by commercial providers, we performed a meta-analysis of individual patient data. The analysis is based on five of our recently conducted randomized controlled WB-EMS trials with adults 60 years+, all of which applied similar WB-EMS protocols (1.5 sessions/week, bipolar current, 16–25 min/session, 85 Hz, 350 μs, and 4–6 s impulse/4 s impulse-break) and used the same pain questionnaire. From these underlying trials, we included only subjects with frequent-chronic LBP in the present meta-analysis. Study endpoints were pain intensity and frequency at the lumbar spine. In summary, 23 participants of the underlying WB-EMS and 22 subjects of the control groups (CG) were pooled in a joint WB-EMS and CG. At baseline, no group differences with respect to LBP intensity and frequency were observed. Pain intensity improved significantly in the WB-EMS () and was maintained () in the CG. LBP frequency decreased significantly in the WB-EMS () and improved nonsignificantly in the CG (). Group differences for both LBP parameters were significant (). We concluded that WB-EMS appears to be an effective training tool for reducing LBP; however, RCTs should further address this issue with more specified study protocols.