Skip to main content


Electromyographical ischemic test, clinical symptoms related to neuromuscular hyperexcitability, and intra- and extracellular Mg++ levels in headache patients


We observed the occurrence of neuromuscular hyperexcitability, assessed with electromyographic ischemic tests, in headache patients in relation to Mg++ levels in serum, red blood cells and mononuclear cells. Clinical symptoms most significantly associated with neuromuscolar hyperexcitability and magnesium derangements were also investigated. A total of 36 patients with migraine without aura (MwoA),18 patients with episodic tension-type headache (ETTH) and 22 patients with chronic tension-type headache (CTTH) were examined during interictal periods. The electromyographic (EMG) ischemic test was positive in 91.7% of MwoA patients, in 27.7% of ETTH and in 13.6% of CTTH patients. In patients with MwoA, the Mg++ levels in red blood cells were significantly less than those in the other two groups of patients with tension-type headache (ANOVA, p<0.00l). Positive EMG ischemic tests were significantly associated with decreased erythrocyte Mg++ levels in MwoA patients (χ2, p<0.01). The clinical symptoms in patients with MwoA most frequently suggest the presence of neuromuscular hyperexcitability and are more strictly associated with reduced red blood cell Mg++ levels. They include fasciculations (91.7%), asthenia (91.7%), blepharospasm (75.8%) and paresthesiae (47.2%). Anxiety and depression most often occurred in tension-type headache patients, but were not related to modifications in intra- and extracellular Mg++ levels.

Author information

Additional information

Received: 14 January 2002, Accepted in revised form: 22 July 2002

Correspondence to G. Mazzotta

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

  • Key words Magnesium deficiency
  • Electromyographical ischemic test
  • Neuromuscular hyperexcitability
  • Clinical assessment
  • Migraine
  • Tension-type headache


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate. Please note that comments may be removed without notice if they are flagged by another user or do not comply with our community guidelines.