J Headache Pain. 2011 Feb;12(1):35-43. Epub 2011 Feb 27.
Referred pain from myofascial trigger points in head and neck-shoulder muscles reproduces head pain features in children with chronic tension type headache.
Fernández-de-Las-Peñas C, Fernández-Mayoralas DM, Ortega-Santiago R, Ambite-Quesada S, Palacios-Ceña D, Pareja JA.
Department of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Avenida de Atenas s/n, 28922, Alcorcón, Madrid, Spain,
Our aim was to describe the referred pain pattern and areas from trigger points (TrPs) in head, neck, and shoulder muscles in children with chronic tension type headache (CTTH). Fifty children (14 boys, 36 girls, mean age: 8 ± 2) with CTTH and 50 age- and sex- matched children participated. Bilateral temporalis, masseter, superior oblique, upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, suboccipital, and levator scapula muscles were examined for TrPs by an assessor blinded to the children’s condition. TrPs were identified with palpation and considered active when local and referred pains reproduce headache pain attacks. The referred pain areas were drawn on anatomical maps, digitalized, and also measured. The total number of TrPs was significantly greater in children with CTTH as compared to healthy children (P < 0.001). Active TrPs were only present in children with CTTH (P < 0.001). Within children with CTTH, a significant positive association between the number of active TrPs and headache duration (r (s) = 0.315; P = 0.026) was observed: the greater the number of active TrPs, the longer the duration of headache attack. Significant differences in referred pain areas between groups (P < 0.001) and muscles (P < 0.001) were found: the referred pain areas were larger in CTTH children (P < 0.001), and the referred pain area elicited by suboccipital TrPs was larger than the referred pain from the remaining TrPs (P < 0.001). Significant positive correlations between some headache clinical parameters and the size of the referred pain area were found. Our results showed that the local and referred pains elicited from active TrPs in head, neck and shoulder shared similar pain pattern as spontaneous CTTH in children, supporting a relevant role of active TrPs in CTTH in children.