dermatomal somatosensory evoked potentials, low back pain
Introduction. Dermatomal somatosensory evoked potentials (DSEP) are used to assess the function of afferent pathway following electrical stimulation of the skin around selected dermatomes of single spinal roots.Aim. The aim of the study was to characterize the parameters of DSEP latencies for assessment of L5 and S1 nerve root transmission in healthy people taking into account the important diagnostic difference between the right and left side and the impact of height, age and sex on values of DSEP latencies.Material and methods. DSEP tests were performed in the control group of 30 healthy volunteers and in the patients with low back pain radiating to one of the lower extremities for comparison. Disc-root conflict was confirmed in MRI studies. Clinical examination included assessment of muscles strength innervated from the L5 and S1 roots and the sensory perception from L5 and S1 dermatomes. In all patients straight leg raising (SLR) and Schober's tests have been performed. To assess the severity of pain, the visual analogue scale (VAS) was used. The clinical and neurophysiological evaluation of patients was performed before and after 4 weeks of the physiotherapeutic exercises selected for this study.Results. Results indicated statistically significant relationship between the DSEP N33, P40, N50 components latencies and the height. The gender and age did not affect DSEP latencies. Values of DSEP latencies in the first and second periods of observations were normal and no sensory and motor disturbances have been observed in patients. DSEP test showed the high conformity with the results of clinical studies.Conclusions. DSEP diagnostic determines well the subjective sensation changes in patients suffering from low back pain. Kinesiotherapy treatment of patients with low back pain without neurological deficits seems to be the appropriate therapeutic method.