Myofascial Trigger Points, Neck Mobility, and Forward Head Posture in Episodic Tension-Type Headache

Fernández-de-las-Peñas, César; Cuadrado, Maria L.; Pareja, Juan A.

The purpose of this study was to assess the differences in the presence of trigger points (TrPs) in head and neck muscles, forward head posture (FHP) and neck mobility between episodic tension-type headache (ETTH) subjects and healthy controls. In addition, we assess the relationship between these muscle TrPs, FHP, neck mobility, and several clinical variables concerning the intensity and the temporal profile of headache.  Fifteen ETTH subjects and 15 matched controls without headache were studied. TrPs in both upper trapezius, both sternocleidomastoids, and both temporalis muscles were identified according to Simons and Gerwin diagnostic criteria. Side-view pictures of each subject were taken in both sitting and standing positions, in order to assess FHP by measuring the craniovertebral angle. A cervical goniometer was employed to measure neck mobility. All measures were taken by a blinded assessor. A headache diary was kept for 4 weeks in order to assess headache intensity, frequency, and duration.  The authors concluded that active TrPs in the upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, and temporalis muscles were more common in ETTH subjects than in healthy controls, although TrP activity was not related to any clinical variable concerning the intensity and the temporal profile of headache. ETTH patients showed greater FHP and lesser neck mobility than healthy controls, although both disorders were not correlated with headache parameters.

Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 2007, 47(5), 662-672

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