To investigate changes in nutritive blood flow as well as interstitial glucose and lactate within an active myofascial trigger point (MTrP) following massage.
Randomized, placebo-controlled trial.
Subjects were recruited from the general population; procedures were conducted at a research center affiliated with a university hospital.
Adults (N=25) (18-49y old) with episodic or chronic tension-type headache and an active MTrP in the upper trapezius muscle.
Subjects were randomized to receive a single trigger point (TrP) release massage or sham ultrasound (US) treatment at an active MTrP in the upper trapezius muscle. Microdialysis was used to continuously sample interstitial fluid from the MTrP before, during, and for 60 minutes following intervention.
Main Outcome Measures
The primary outcome measure was nutritive blood flow within the MTrP as measured by microdialysis ethanol clearance; secondary measures included dialysate glucose, dialysate lactate, and subject discomfort with the procedures. Pressure-pain threshold (PPT) was determined to assess treatment effectiveness.
There was no treatment effect of TrP release massage on nutritive blood flow (P=.663) or dialysate glucose (P=.766). The interaction for lactate was significant indicating that dialysate lactate increased for TrP release massage vs sham US (P=.04); maximum lactate increase over baseline was observed at 60 minutes after TrP release massage (P=.007, 0.128 μM, 95% confidence interval 0.045-0.212). Pain evoked by probe placement into an active MTrP was low. An interaction effect on PPT was significant (P=.005).
TrP release massage of an active MTrP affected anaerobic metabolism as represented by an increase in dialysate lactate without change in nutritive blood flow or dialysate glucose. The lack of a treatment effect on blood flow is discussed.
List of abbreviations:CI (confidence interval), LTR (local twitch response), MPS (myofascial pain syndrome), MTrP (myofascial trigger point), PPT (pressure-pain threshold), RM-ANOVA (repeated measure analysis of variance), TrP (trigger point), TTH (tension-type headache), US (ultrasound), UT (upper trapezius)
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Published online: August 06, 2018
This study was supported by the Massage Therapy Foundation and by NIH/CATS Colorado CTSI (grant no. UL1 TR000154), Bethesda, MD. Contents are the authors’ sole responsibility and do not necessarily represent official NIH views.
Clinical Trial Registration No.: NCT02389140.
© 2018 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine