EMG Biofeedback and Tension Headache: A Controlled Outcome Study

  title={EMG Biofeedback and Tension Headache: A Controlled Outcome Study},
  author={Thomas Budzynski and Johann Stoyva and Charles S. Adler and Daniel J. Mullaney},
  journal={Psychosomatic Medicine},
&NA; A significant reduction in muscle contraction headache activity was observed in patients trained in the relaxation of the forehead musculature through EMG biofeedback. Training consisted of 16 semiweekly 20 min. EMG feedback sessions augmented by daily home practice. A pseudofeedback control group and a no‐treatment control group failed to show significant reductions. A three‐month follow‐up questionnaire revealed a greatly decreased medication usage in the experimental group. 

The modification of tension headache pain using EMG biofeedback.

  • C. Philips
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Behaviour research and therapy
  • 1977

A comparison of EMG biofeedback and a credible pseudotherapy in treating tension headache

Results suggest that outcomes obtained with biofeedback do not result merely from exposure to a credible treatment procedure, and evidence suggesting that headache improvements may be mediated by cognitive and behavioral changes and not the learned control of physiological activity is discussed.

Controlled trial of EMG feedback in muscle contraction headache

EMG feedback therapy is effective in the treatment of muscle contraction headache even in its chronic, severe form, which is resistant to traditional treatment methods.

The effectiveness of EMG biofeedback training in low back pain

Pain scores of patients with high pain decrements during training showed further improvement during follow-up, which was not the case with patients showing less substantial improvement, but the importance of cognitions was discussed.

Biofeedback in the treatment of tension headache. Current status.

It appears that if biofeedback is to surpass the effectiveness of verbal relaxation training for treatment tension headache, further developments capitalizing on the specificity of theBiofeedback physiological response are required.

Accelerated EMG Biofeedback Relaxation Training and Tension Headache: The Effects of Home Practice and Headache Presence During Training

Declining trends of headache activity and medication use tend to support the efficacy of EMG training with headache presence, and the contribution made by home relaxation practice in the elimination of tension headache.

A comparison of biofeedback-mediated relaxation and group therapy in the treatment of chronic anxiety.

It is suggested that EMG feedback can be an important adjunct therapy for chronic anxiety and significant decreases were found in the feedback group in electromyogram levels, mood distrubance, trait anxiety, and (to a lesser extent) state anxiety.

Muscle-contraction headaches in multiple-pain patients: treatment under worsening baseline conditions.

All treatment modalities led to significant but similar levels of improvement in headaches, while the control group worsened, and in all cases, onset or aggravation of the headaches coincided with the compensation-related injury.



Electromyographic feedback training and tension headache: preliminary observations.

Five female Ss diagnosed by neurologists as chronic headache cases and who had failed to respond to a variety of other treatment procedures were trained to relax their frontalis area with EMG feedback to reduce the frequency and intensity of headache activity.

Feedback-induced muscle relaxation: Application to tension headache☆

Chronic anxiety treated by feedback-induced muscle relaxation. A pilot study.

Even the safest and most effective antianxiety agents expose the patient to some risk from unwanted side effects, such as impaired driving proficiency, and long-term use of these agents for decades may lead to unexpected complications.


The hypotheses were that an increase in innervation of the skeletal muscles accompanies anxiety so that in anxious patients attempting to relax not only will muscle tension be greater than in healthy subjects, but those patients with most clinical evidence of anxiety and " tension" will have the most muscle tension.

An instrument for producing deep muscle relaxation by means of analog information feedback.

An instrument that assists subjects in attaining deep muscle relaxation by means of analog information feedback is described, and results showed that subjects receiving this type of analog feedback reached deeper levels of muscle relaxation than those receiving either no feedback or irrelevant feedback.

The Common Headache Syndromes: Biochemistry, Pathophysiology, Therapy.

From the position of one who has been intimately associated with the relatively few basic studies in the physiology of headache he supplies a sound critical evaluation of present and past theories concerning its relation to allergy, hormones, histamine, hypertension, menses, fluid and electrolyte deviations, and emotional states.


Headache is man's most common physical discomfort, and it is this psychosomatic reflection of anxiety by means of muscle tension that is the basis for the tension headache.

Emotions and muscle tension: The story of Anne

  • Psychol Today
  • 1970