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EMG Biofeedback-Assisted Relaxation Training in the Treatment of Reactive Depression in Chronic Pain Patients

Abstract

Eight chronic pain patients (6 males and 2 females) diagnosed as presenting reactive depression were randomly divided into two groups. Following individual assessment with the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), prescription of antidepressant medication, and electromyographic (EMG) measurement of forehead muscle tension, one group received EMG biofeedback-assisted relaxation training (BRT) and another group conventional medical treatment (TC). A final assessment was carried out on both (BRT and TC) groups immediately after 4 months of treatment. The BRT subjects showed significant reductions in EMG forehead muscle tension, T scores on the MMPI scale 2 (depression), and antidepressant medication following treatment compared to TC subjects. It is concluded that EMG biofeedback-assisted relaxation training is an effective biobehavioral treatment modality for reducing forehead muscle tension, elective antidepressant medication, and reactive depression of pain patients.

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Correspondence to Eugene G. Peniston.

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Special thanks to Fort Lyon VA Medical Center for support of the study and to M. Sanchez for his assistance.

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Peniston, E.G., Hughes, R.B. & Kulkosky, P.J. EMG Biofeedback-Assisted Relaxation Training in the Treatment of Reactive Depression in Chronic Pain Patients. Psychol Rec 36, 471–482 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03394967

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