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Since there is merit in noninvasive monitoring of muscular oxidative metabolism for near-infrared spectroscopy in a wide range of clinical scenarios, the present study attempted to evaluate the clinical usability for featuring the modulatory strategies of sternocleidomastoid muscular oxygenation using near-infrared spectroscopy in mild nonspecific neck pain patients. The muscular oxygenation variables of the dominant or affected sternocleidomastoid muscles of interest were extracted at 25% of the maximum voluntary isometric contraction from ten patients (5 males and 5 females, 23.6 ± 4.2 years) and asymptomatic individuals (6 males and 4 females, 24.0 ± 5.1 years) using near-infrared spectroscopy. Only a shorter half-deoxygenation time of oxygen saturation during a sternocleidomastoid isometric contraction was noted in patients compared to asymptomatic individuals (10.43 ± 1.79 s vs. 13.82 ± 1.42 s, p < 0.001). Even though the lack of statically significant differences in most of the muscular oxygenation variables failed to refine the definite pathogenic mechanisms underlying nonspecific neck pain, the findings of modulatory strategies of faster deoxygenation implied that near-infrared spectroscopy appears to have practical potential to provide relevant physiological information regarding muscular oxidative metabolism and constituted convincing preliminary evidences of the adaptive manipulations rather than pathological responses of oxidative metabolism capacity of sternocleidomastoid muscles in nonspecific neck patients with mild disability.

Original publication




Journal article


Sensors (basel)

Publication Date





muscular oxygenation, near-infrared spectroscopy, nonspecific neck pain, oxygenation oscillations