Facilitation of triceps brachii muscle contraction by tendon vibration after chronic cervical spinal cord injury

Edith Ribot-Ciscar, Jane E. Butler, Christine K. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


One way to improve the weak triceps brachii voluntary forces of people with chronic cervical spinal cord injury may be to excite the paralyzed or submaximally activated fraction of muscle. Here we examined whether elbow extensor force was enhanced by vibration (80 Hz) of the triceps or biceps brachii tendons at rest and during maximum isometric voluntary contractions (MVCs) of the elbow extensors performed by spinal cord-injured subjects. The mean ± SE elbow extensor MVC force was 22 ± 17.5 N (range: 0-23% control force, n = 11 muscles). Supramaximal radial nerve stimuli delivered during elbow extensor MVCs evoked force in six muscles that could be stimulated selectively, suggesting potential for force improvement. Biceps vibration at rest always evoked a tonic vibration reflex in biceps, but extension force did not improve with biceps vibration during triceps MVCs. Triceps vibration induced a tonic vibration reflex at rest in one-half of the triceps muscles tested. Elbow extensor MVC force (when >1% of control force) was enhanced by vibration of the triceps tendon in one-half of the muscles. Thus triceps, but not biceps, brachii tendon vibration increases the contraction strength of some partially paralyzed triceps brachii muscles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2358-2367
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Antagonist vibratory response
  • Maximum voluntary contraction
  • Muscle paralysis
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tonic vibration reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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