What is electromyography (EMG) biofeedback?

Ronald B. Tolchin, DO
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Electromyography is a test of nerve conduction. It can sometimes identify if there is pressure on the nerves when other diagnostic tests fail to reveal that pressure. Electromyography also looks at the activity of the muscles around nerves to see whether they are spasming and putting pressure on nerves. Electromyography is sometimes used to identify the cause of back pain. 

 Electromyography (EMG) is a type of biofeedback that provides feedback on muscle tension and works well for people with anxiety disorders or chronic pain. 

Other types of biofeedback include the following:

  • Electrodermal (EDR) is a type of biofeedback that measures subtle changes in amounts of perspiration.  
  • Thermal biofeedback is used in teaching hand warming. This has been found to help relieve migraine headaches and can benefit those with Raynaud’s disease, a disorder that causes the blood vessels in the fingers, toes, ears, and nose to constrict (narrow).
  • Finger pulse biofeedback records heart rate and force and is useful for anxiety or cardiovascular symptoms.
  • Respiration feedback shows the rate, volume, rhythm and location of each breath.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.