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Effects of Two Different Self-Adapted Occlusal Splints on Electromyographic and Force Parameters During Elbow Flexors Isometric Contraction

Limonta, Eloisa1; Arienti, Chiara1,2; Rampichini, Susanna1; Venturelli, Massimo1; Cè, Emiliano1; Veicsteinas, Arsenio1,2; Esposito, Fabio1,2

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 1 - p 230–236
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002178
Original Research

Limonta, E, Arienti, C, Rampichini, S, Venturelli, M, Cè, E, Veicsteinas, A, and Esposito, F. Effects of two different self-adapted occlusal splints on electromyographic and force parameters during elbow flexors isometric contraction. J Strength Cond Res 32(1): 230–236, 2018—The study was aimed at determining the acute effects of 2 types of occlusal splints on maximum isometric strength and fatigue of the elbow flexors muscles. The hypothesis was that splint-induced masticatory muscle repositioning might improve primary muscles recruitment by stretching masticatory muscles especially with the thicker splint. On 9 physically active volunteers with no temporomandibular joint and masticatory muscles disorders, we assessed maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) of the elbow flexors with diurnal (OSD, 1-mm thick) and sport (OSSP, 3-mm thick) splints, and without splint (control, Ctrl). On different days, participants performed 60 seconds of isometric contraction at 100% MVC (100%60s) and 80% MVC contraction until exhaustion (80%exh) under OSD, OSSP, and Ctrl in random order. Time of force output within target (t-target), force distance from target (ΔF), and force coefficient of variation were calculated. Percentage of force decay (ΔFi-Fe) was determined during 100%60s. From the electromyographic (EMG) signal, root mean square (EMG RMS) and mean frequency (EMG MF) were determined. Neuromuscular efficiency (NE) was calculated as the ratio between force and EMG RMS. MVC contraction and NE were significantly higher in OSSP and OSD than in Ctrl. During MVC, EMG MF was significantly lower in both splint conditions, and EMG RMS showed a nonstatistical tendency to lower values under both splint conditions. During 80%exh, t-target was longer in OSD and OSSP (+7.8% and +5.2%, respectively) than in Ctrl. ΔFi-Fe was lower in OSSP than in Ctrl and OSD. These results support the hypothesis of a NE improvement of the elbow flexors possibly induced by acute, splint-induced masticatory muscles repositioning.

1Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy; and

2Center of Sport Medicine, IRCCS Don Gnocchi Foundation, Milan, Italy

Address correspondence to Fabio Esposito, fabio.esposito@unimi.it.

Copyright © 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.