Central nervous system

Voluntary movements, for example, walking, talking, running are under the control of the central nervous system (CNS). In response to pathology, such as chronic pain or injury, the regions of the brain responsible for transmitting concious control messages and the pathways they travel along can undergo reorganisation (plasticity). The aims of the research carried out in the Nick Davey Neurophysiology Laboratory include:

  • Assessment of the effects of exercise/fatigue and pain on neuromuscular control.
  • Investigation of neural drive to trunk muscles in subjects with current or history of non-specific mechanical low back pain.
  • Investigation of the impact of intervertebral disc bulge/herniation on the voluntary movement pathways from the brain to leg muscles.
  • Examining correlations between structural (diffusion tensor imaging) and functional (neurophysiological) parameters in patients undergoing surgical intervention for herniated intervertebral discs.
  • Investigation of the pathways involved in postural control (e.g. trunk muscles).
  • Investigating the interactions between pathways controlling trunk and limb muscles during movements.
  • Investigation of the interactions between pathways controlling the limbs and trunk muscles to develop therapeutic interventions for improving trunk function in subjects with spinal cord injury. 
  • Investigation of central neural pathways to leg muscles in patients with knee pain
  • These aims are being achieved using non-invasive brain and nerve stimulation and synchronised recording of muscle activity using electromyography (EMG) and function using dynamomtetry.