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Myofascial Trigger Points and Their
Relationship to Headache Clinical Parameters
in Chronic Tension-Type Headache
Penas CF, Blanco, CA, Cuadrado ML, Gerwin R, Pareja, JA
Posted: October 2006  
Headache 2006;46:1264-1272


Objective:   To assess the presence of trigger points (TrPs) in several head and neck muscles in subjects with chronic tension-type headache (CTTH) and in healthy subjects; and to evaluate the relationship of these TrPs with forward headache posture (FHP), headache intensity, duration, and frequency.

Background:   Tension-type headache (TTH) is a headache in which myofascial TrPs in head and neck muscles might play an important etiologic role.

Methods:   Twenty-five CTTH subjects and 25 matched controls without headache were studied. TrPs in bilateral upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoids, and temporalis muscles were identified according to Simons etalís diagnostic criteria: tenderness in a hyperirritable spot within a palpable taut band, local twitch response elicited by snapping palpation, and elicited referred pain with palpation. A TrP was considered active if the subject recognized the evoked referred pain as familiar headache. If the evoked referred pain was not recognized as familiar headache, the TrP was considered as latent. Side-view pictures of each subject were taken in both sitting and standing positions in order to assess FHP by measuring the cranio-vertebral angle. Both measurements were made by a blinded assessor. A headache diary was kept for 4 weeks in order to assess headache intensity, frequency, and duration.

Conclusions:   Active TrPs in upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, and temporalis muscles were associated with CTTH. CTTH subjects with active TrPs usually reported a greater headache intensity and longer headache duration than those with latent TrPs. CTTH subjects with active TrPs tended to have a greater FHP than CTTH subjects with latent TrPs.