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Masseter and Temporalis Muscle EMG Levels and Bite Force in Migraineurs


Address all correspondence to Dr. C.A. Burnett, School of Clinical Dentistry, The Queen's University of Belfast, The Royal Group of Hospitals, Grosvenor Road, Belfast BT12 6BP, Northern Ireland.


The purpose of this study was to compare absolute and proportional electromyography (EMG) levels in the masseter and temporalis muscles during performance of a variety of oral functions for migraineurs and age- and sex-matched controls. Both groups consisted of nine women and one man, with a mean age of 43 years (range, 29 to 51 years). Absolute resting EMG levels and those levels during swallowing and speech were not significantly different between the groups, but the levels of the group with migraine were significantly higher during maximum voluntary effort contractions on the anterior teeth and on the posterior teeth for both muscles. When expressed as a percentage of those levels obtained at maximal posterior contraction (ie, proportional levels), no difference in functional activity was demonstrated between groups. It was concluded that the two groups studied had similar levels of EMG activity in the masseter and temporalis muscles during the normal oral functions investigated, but that the group with migraine had higher levels of absolute EMG activity during anterior and posterior maximum voluntary contractions. Furthermore, the group with migraine demonstrated higher levels of anterior and posterior bite force, although not correlated with EMG levels.

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