Myofascial Pain Syndrome as a Contributing Factor in Patients with Chronic Headaches

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Haworth Press Inc


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Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of active and latent trigger points [TrPs], as well as analyze the prevalence of different types of headaches in chronic headache patients. The active and latent TrPs in muscles of orofacial and cervical regions were also evaluated. Methods: There were 290 subjects who participated in this study. Trigger points were identified according to Simons et al.'s diagnostic criteria. Trigger points were considered active if subjects recognized the evoked referred pain as their familiar headache. If the evoked referred pain was not recognized as the familiar headache, the TrPs were considered latent. Differential diagnosis for headache was performed on the basis of International Headache Society criteria. Results: Trigger points could be diagnosed in 77 percent of patients and, in 89 percent of these, active TrPs were found. Muscle tenderness could be observed in 22 percent of patients, and only 1 percent patients were muscle-pain-free. The headache diagnosis showed that 26 percent had tension-type headache, 13 percent had migraine, and 61 percent had combined episodes of tension-type headache and migraine. The highest number of TrPs were found in temporalis [N = 159], masseter [N = 126], and occiptofrontalis [N = 113] muscles. Active TrPs were more frequent in temporalis and occiptofrontalis muscles. Conclusions: Subjects with chronic headaches had a higher prevalence of TrPs, and headache complaints could be reproduced during stimulation of active TrPs that were localized more frequently in temporalis and occiptofrontalis muscles. The presence of TrPs may be a contributing factor in the initiation and/or perpetuation of chronic headaches.




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Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain. Binghamton: Haworth Press Inc, v. 17, n. 1, p. 15-25, 2009.

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