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A questionnaire survey of muscular symptoms in chronic headache. An age- and sex-controlled study

PainSci » bibliography » Lebbink et al 1991
Tags: etiology, muscle pain, pro, muscle, pain problems

One article on PainSci cites Lebbink 1991: The Complete Guide to Chronic Tension Headaches

PainSci commentary on Lebbink 1991: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused 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 wherever possible.

This survey asked people with and without headache about the soreness and tightness of their neck, shoulder, and jaw muscles. Tightness was more common and severe in the headache sufferers, and soreness was more severe (that is, everyone was sore to some extent, but people with headaches were more sore). All areas were linked to headache to some degree, but the neck much more so. Such data can't tell us anything about causality, but it certainly helps to reinforce what seems obvious to most people who have ever had a headache: there is some kind of link to the neck, jaw, and shoulders.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

In a questionnaire survey we determined the prevalence and intensity of muscular symptoms in a group of chronic headache sufferers as compared with age- and sex-matched controls. The muscular symptoms studied were tightness and soreness of the neck, shoulder, and jaw muscles. Muscle tightness was reported significantly more frequently in the headache than in the control group, but only for the neck muscles (48.6 vs. 29.9%; p less than 0.01). When headache was present, the prevalence of neck muscle tightness in the headache group significantly increased further to 68.8% (p less than 0.001) and that of jaw muscle tightness increased significantly from 17.2 to 29.7% (p less than 0.01). The intensity of muscle tightness was again only significantly different between the headache and the control groups for the neck muscles (p less than 0.01). However, it was significantly higher for all three muscle groups in the headache group when headache was actually present than when headache was absent (p less than 0.001).

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