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Health Psychol. 1985;4(4):307-21.

A controlled evaluation of paraspinal EMG biofeedback in the treatment of chronic low back pain.


Sixty-six chronic low back pain sufferers were randomly divided into three groups. Following individual assessments consisting of psychological questionnaires, pain monitoring, and measurement of paraspinal electromyogram (EMG), one group received paraspinal EMG biofeedback and another a placebo treatment. The third group received no intervention. Two further assessments were carried out on all groups immediately after treatment and at a 3-month follow-up. All groups showed significant reduction in pain, anxiety, depression, and paraspinal EMG following treatment and at follow-up, but there were no differences between groups. A regression analysis failed to identify subjects' characteristics that predicted positive outcome in the biofeedback group. However, high scores on the Evaluative scale of the McGill Pain Questionnaire and high hypnotizability were significant predictors of positive outcome for the placebo group. It is concluded that paraspinal EMG biofeedback is not a specific treatment for chronic low back pain in a nonhospitalized population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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