Myofascial trigger points and migraine-related disability in women with episodic and chronic migraine

The aim of this study was to investigate the differences in the presence of head and neck-shoulder trigger points (TrPs) between women with episodic or chronic migraine and their association with migraine-related disability.

One hundred and forty-three women, aged 18-60 years, suffering from migraine were recruited to participate. Migraine-related disability was evaluated with the migraine disability assessment questionnaire (MIDAS). TrPs were explored bilaterally within the masseter, temporalis, suboccipital, sternocleidomastoid, upper trapezius, and splenius capitis muscles.

Ninety-eight women exhibited episodic migraine and 45 chronic migraine. Women with chronic migraine reported higher related-disability than those with episodic migraine (P=0.045). Women with episodic migraine had a similar number of TrPs (total number: 4.3±3.3; active TrPs: 3.0±2.9; latent TrPs: 1.3±2.1) to those with chronic migraine (total number: 4.8±3.2; active TrPs: 3.4±2.9; latent TrPs: 1.4±1.9). No linear association between the number of TrPs and migraine-related disability was observed in women with episodic or chronic migraine.

Women with episodic and chronic migraine had a similar number of TrPs. TrPs may be considered as a trigger factor that can facilitate the onset of migraine or also can potentially also be a promoting factor for pain once the migraine attack has started and hence may contribute to related-disability.

Nevertheless, we observed that the number of TrPs in head and neck-shoulder muscles in an interictal state was not associated with the degree of migraine-related disability, suggesting a multi-factorial nature of self-perceived disability in this population.