Trigger point therapy helped a few chronic cluster headache patients, case series
PainSci summary of Calandre 2008?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focussed on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★☆☆☆?2-star ratings are for studies with flaws, bias, and/or conflict of interest; published in lesser journals. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.
Although this research was “preliminary and uncontrolled” and is not powerful enough to prove anything, its results were certainly noteworthy — the sort of results that can inspire more research, hopefully. All of 12 patients with chronic cluster headaches (a kind of migraine, nicknamed “suicide headaches”) had myofascial trigger points, and treating them (with injection) produced “significant improvement in 7 of the 8 chronic cluster patients.” The authors speculate that trigger points are not the cause of cluster headaches, but a nasty complicating factor: “chronic pain or repeated acute pain sensitize muscular nociceptors creating active trigger points which, in turn, contribute to potentiate headache pain. This kind of vicious cycle explains why the number of active trigger points has been found to be higher in patients with chronic primary headaches than in healthy subjects or in patients experiencing less frequent headache attacks.”
Active myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) have been found to contribute to chronic tension-type headache and migraine. The purpose of this case series was to examine if active trigger points (TrPs) provoking cluster-type referred pain could be found in cluster headache patients and, if so, to evaluate the effectiveness of active TrPs anaesthetic injections both in the acute and preventive headache's treatment. Twelve patients, 4 experiencing episodic and 8 chronic cluster headache, were studied. TrPs were found in all of them. Abortive infiltrations could be done in 2 episodic and 4 chronic patients, and preemptive infiltrations could be done in 2 episodic and 5 chronic patients, both kind of interventions being successful in 5 (83.3%) and in 6 (85.7%) of the cases respectively. When combined with prophylactic drug therapy, injections were associated with significant improvement in 7 of the 8 chronic cluster patients. Our data suggest that peripheral sensitization may play a role in cluster headache pathophysiology and that first neuron afferent blockade can be useful in cluster headache management.
- “The role of myofascial trigger points in musculoskeletal pain syndromes of the head and neck,” an article in Current Pain & Headache Reports, 2007.
- “Myofascial trigger points and their relationship to headache clinical parameters in chronic tension-type headache,” an article in Headache, 2006.
These three articles on PainScience.com cite Calandre 2008 as a source:
- PS Massage Therapy for Tension Headaches — Perfect Spot No. 1, in the suboccipital muscles of the neck, under the back of the skull.
- PS Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain Syndrome — A guide to the unfinished science of muscle pain, with reviews of every theory and self-treatment and therapy option
- PS Save Yourself from Neck Pain! — All your treatment and self-help options for a crick in the neck explained and reviewed