Site Specificity of Pain and Tension in Tension-Type Headaches


Alan L. Peterson, Ph.D., RAF Lakenheath Hospital, Unit 5210, Box 230, Brandon, Suffolk, IP27 9PN, United Kingdom.


Previous studies have not found a significant correlation between location of pain and electromyogram levels in chronic headache patients. However, these studies only examined a limited number of muscle groups and did not assess subjective tension levels. The present study evaluated a group of tension-type (n = 43) and migraine and tension-type (n = 30) headache patients. Measures were obtained at five muscle sites (frontalis, temporalis, masseter, splenius capitis, and trapezius) for patient ratings of headache pain, patient ratings of muscle tension, and electromyogram recordings cross-sectionally. Neither subjective pain nor tension ratings were found to be significantly related to electromyogram levels. The site-specificity relationship between chronic headache pain, subjective report of muscular tension, and electromyogram levels remains unclear.