Neck Musculature and EMG Biofeedback in Treatment of Muscle Contraction Headache




Muscle contraction headache is believed to result from sustained contraction of muscles involving the neck, scalp, and frontalis musculature. This study stresses the clinical importance of examining neck muscle activity in 16 subjects. Two questions are addressed: (1) Do subjects who in the process of treatment for headaches originating from the neck and who received EMG feedback from frontalis and neck musculature select the neck feedback site as more useful in the control of headache? (2) Is frontalis activity as measured by the EMG a measure of the level of activity in other portions of the skeletal system, namely neck musculature? Results indicate that neck involvement varies significantly among patients complaining of chronic muscle contraction headaches, and that a substantial number of subjects experience far more neck than frontalis activity and benefit from behavioral techniques applied to that area. Our findings indicate that attending specifically to neck tissue is a useful therapeutic goal. Consequently, post-treatment results show significant reductions in neck tissue muscle activity, especially for patients reporting significant neck symptomatology and/or those with high levels of EMG neck activity who reported that behavioral techniques applied to the neck area were helpful for controlling the muscle activity related to their headaches.