Contrary to previous studies, neck pain is a symptom of migraine only, not the result of an underlying muscle dysfunction that triggers migraine attacks, according to a recent article published in The Journal of Headache and Pain.
The study sought to weigh in on the scientific debate regarding neck pain in migraineurs, and whether neck muscle dysfunction could be a trigger for migraine attacks or is merely a symptom.
Investigators recruited 102 participants (43 episodic migraine, 31 chronic migraine, and 28 healthy controls) and used surface electromyography to record muscle tension of the trapezius during 15 blocks of stressful experimental conditions alternated with relaxation periods. Examples of experimental conditions include counting backwards from 100 by differences of 9, and pressing 1 foot on a body weight scale to reach and hold at least 27 kg for 30 seconds.
Two surface channels at either side of the upper trapezius muscle were used to measure electromyography, and the resultant data were analyzed by an expert blind to the diagnosis. All groups showed an increase in activity in the bilateral trapezius during the experimental periods of both mental and physical stress.
The differences between the mean electromyography increases shown during experimental conditions compared with relaxation blocks were negligible, except for during the first mental stress period (counting backward by 9s). In this initial test, the healthy control groups only experienced a 4.75% increase in muscle tension, the muscle tension of participants with episodic migraines increased by 17.39%, and the tension of participants with chronic migraines increased by 28.61%.
During the relaxation periods, both healthy controls and participants with migraine took the same amount of time to return to resting electromyography levels.
Continue reading the original article here.