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Volume 8 , Issue 4
Fall 1994

Pages 384-390

Pain-pressure threshold in painful jaw muscles following trigger point injection


PMID: 7670426

Pain and tenderness at trigger points and referral sites may be modified in subjects with myofascial pain in the head and neck region by injecting local anesthetic into active trigger points, but the effect of injection on jaw muscle pain-pressure thresholds has not been measured. The mechanism by which trigger-point injection affects muscle tenderness is also unclear and may be related to the hyper-stimulation analgesia induced by stimulation of an acupuncture point. A pressure algometer was used before and after an active trigger point injection in the masseter to measure the pain-pressure threshold in the masseter and temporal muscles of 10 subjects with jaw muscle pain of myogenous origin. The pain-pressure threshold in the masseter and temporal muscles was also measured in a matched control group before and after an acupuncture-point injection in the masseter. The pain-pressure threshold was significantly lower in myofascial pain subjects than in control subjects at all recording sites. Pain-pressure thresholds increased minimally in the masseter after trigger-point injection, whereas the temporal region was relatively unaffected. In the control group, the pain-pressure threshold increased significantly at all recording sites in the masseter after acupuncture-point injection. Although local anesthetic injection acts peripherally at the painful site and centrally where pain is sustained, pain-pressure thresholds were not dramatically increased in myofascial pain subjects, in contrast to controls. This suggests that in subjects with myofascial pain, there was continued excitability in peripheral tissues and/or central neural areas which may have contributed to the persistence of jaw muscle tenderness.

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