The Significance of Muscle Discrimination Training in the Treatment of Chronic Muscle Contraction Headache




The present study was undertaken to determine if chronic muscle contraction headache subjects who received training in muscle discrimination during a headache treatment program that included the standard application of behavioral procedures would be able to relieve muscle activity more effectively than those subjects who received only the conventional program. Thirty-eight subjects medically diagnosed as having muscle contraction headache were randomly assigned to one of the above treatment conditions or groups. Thirty subjects completed the ten-week study and treatment program. Stimulus discrimination training, consisting of exercises involving muscles of facial expression, EMG biofeedback and differential reinforcement, was employed. Results indicated that both groups markedly improved. Although the amount of change between the two groups was not statistically significant, the direction of change improved for the experimental group who received the increased, intensified muscle discrimination training. The findings suggest that clinicians who emphasize muscle discrimination training with this type of headache will most likely achieve better results in the way of treatment outcome than without that emphasis.