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A Guide For Use And Interpretation Of Kinesiologic Electromyographic Data

Gary L Soderberg, Loretta M Knutson

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Abstract Physical therapists are among the most common users of electromyography as a method for understanding function and dysfunction of the neuromuscular system. However, there is no collection of references or a source that provides an overview or synthesis of information that serves to guide either the user or the consumer of electromyography and the data derived. Thus, the purpose of this article is to present a guide, accompanied by an inclusive reference list, for the use and interpretation of kinesiologic electromyographic data. The guide is divided into 4 major sections: collecting, managing, normalizing, and analyzing kinesiologic electromyographic data. In the first of these sections, the issues affecting data collection with both indwelling and surface electrodes are discussed. In the second section, data management through alternative forms of data processing is addressed. In the third section, various reasons and procedures for data normalization are discussed. The last section reviews qualitative descriptors once used as the only means of analyzing data, then focuses on more quantitative procedures that predominate today. The guide is intended as a tool for students, educators, clinicians, and beginning researchers who use and interpret kinesiologic electromyographic data. Modifications will likely be needed as alternative forms of collecting, managing, normalizing, and analyzing electromyographic data are proposed, used in various settings, and reported in the literature.