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Biofeedback Self Regul. 1983 Jun;8(2):229-41.

EMG scanning in the diagnosis of chronic pain.


A surface EMG diagnostic protocol was developed to assess the neuromuscular/postural contributions to pain states. The EMG activity of the right and left aspects of 11 muscle groups were monitored while the patient was in the sitting and standing positions. The diagnostic protocol was evaluated by comparing the patterns of EMG activity in four diagnostic groups: headache only, neck/shoulder/upper back pain only, low back pain only, and mixed pain states. The results suggest that (1) bilateral levels of EMG activity in the frontalis and masseter groups are of primary importance for the headache patients, (2) the discrepancy between the right and left EMG activity in the lumbar and cervical paraspinal muscle groups are of primary importance for low back pain patients, (3) position (sit/stand) may provide important diagnostic information, and (4) the data appear to support the notion of a postural disturbance as a contributing factor in low back pain.

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