Long-lasting effect evoked by tonic muscle pain on parietal EEG activity in humans

Domenica Le Pera, Peter Svensson, Massimiliano Valeriani, Ippei Watanabe, Lars Arendt-Nielsen, Andrew C N Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To explore EEG changes evoked by tonic experimental muscle pain compared to a non-painful vibratory stimulus. Methods: Thirty-one EEG channels were recorded before, during and after painful and non-painful stimulation. Pain was induced in the left brachioradialis muscle by injection of hypertonic (5%) saline. The vibratory stimulus was applied to the skin area overlying the brachioradialis muscle. The power of the major frequency components of the EEG activity (FFT, fast Fourier transform) was quantified and t-maps between the different experimental conditions were evaluated in frequency domain. Results: The main effect of muscle pain, compared to non-painful stimulation, was a significant and long-lasting increase of delta (1-3 Hz) power and an alpha-1 (9-11 Hz) power increase over the contralateral parietal locus. This finding could suggest a decreased excitability of the primary somatosensory cortex during muscle pain. The main effect of vibration, compared to its unstimulated baseline, consisted in an increase of beta-1 (14-20 Hz) power in the right frontal region. Conclusions: Our data demonstrate significant and specific topographic EEG changes during tonic muscle pain. Since these modifications differ from those produced by an unstimulated baseline and during non-painful tonic stimulation, they might reflect mechanisms involved in the processing of nociceptive and adverse tonic stimuli. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2130-2137
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Electroencephalography
  • Event-related synchronization
  • Muscle pain
  • Somatosensory cortex inhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)


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