Fibromyalgia and related conditions: Electromyogram profile during isometric muscle contraction – Source: Joint Bone Spine, Apr 21, 2010

[Note: Muscles produce electrical current when active. An electromyogram records the electrical activity of a muscle.]

Objectives: To evaluate electromyogram (EMG) profiles in patients with three related conditions: fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression.

Methods: We studied 44 healthy volunteers, 22 patients with fibromyalgia, 11 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, and 10 patients admitted for depression.

The trapezius electromyogram was recorded during maximally sustained, bilateral, 90 degrees abduction of the shoulders. EMG signal frequency and amplitude were measured throughout the test.


• In the fibromyalgia group, isometric contraction duration was significantly shorter than in the other two patient groups (P<0.001) and the EMG frequency and amplitude pattern indicated premature discontinuation of the muscle contraction.

• Findings in the chronic fatigue patients were similar to those in the healthy controls.

• The patients with depression had a distinctive EMG profile characterized by excessive initial motor-unit recruitment with a shift in the frequency spectrum.


• Fibromyalgia was associated with a specific EMG pattern indicating premature discontinuation of the muscle contraction. Therefore, maximal voluntary muscle contraction tests may be of limited value for assessing function in fibromyalgia patients.

• Chronic fatigue syndrome patients had similar EMG findings to those in the healthy controls.

• The EMG alterations in the patients with depression were consistent with manifestations of psychomotor retardation.

Source: Joint Bone Spine, Apr 21, 2010. PMID: 20417143, by Maquet D, Croisier JL, Dupont C, Moutschen M, Ansseau M, Zeevaert B, Crielaard JM. Department of Motricity Sciences, University of Liege, University Hospital Centre of Liege, Belgium. [E-mail:]

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