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Electromyographic Biofeedback in Headache Children
M. Trapanotto, Cephalalgia, May 2000
Posted Feb 2001
Cephalalgia, May 2000

Objective: Behavioral techniques for the treatment of chronic headache could be an alternative to pharmacological therapy. In the present study, the clinical efficacy of electromyographic biofeedback in children with chronic headache was investigated. In particular, the pain index, overall headache improvement and frontal EMG measurements were evaluated prior to treatment, after treatment, and at 1 and 3 month follow-up.

Method: We evaluated eight patients (4 females and 4 males; aged 10-16 years) who had been suffering from chronic headache for an average of 4.3 years and were non-responsive to pharmacological therapy. During 2 weeks of assessment, patients filled in a headache diary and baseline frontal EMG measurements were recorded. Each child participated in 10 frontal EMG biofeedback sessions for a period of 7 weeks. After treatment and at 1 and 3 month follow-up, their headache diary was re-evaluated and post-treatment frontal EMG measurements were taken.

Results: After the treatment and at follow-up, all patients reported a reduction in the pain index and a significant overall headache improvement (>50%). In addition, frontal EMG levels were lower after treatment and at 1 and 3 month follow-up, compared to pretreatment levels.

Conclusions: Electromyographic biofeedback is an effective treatment for headache children. Comparison of post-treatment and 1 and 3 month follow-up data with pretreatment data indicated that subjects maintained a significant reduction in headache and muscle tension.