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Open Access Research article

Mechanical pain sensitivity of deep tissues in children - possible development of myofascial trigger points in children

Ting-I Han1, Chang-Zern Hong2, Fang-Chuan Kuo2, Yueh-Ling Hsieh3, Li-Wei Chou134 and Mu-Jung Kao56*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

2 Department of Physical Therapy, Hungkuang University, Taichung, Taiwan

3 Department of Physical Therapy and Graduate Institute of Rehabilitation Science, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

4 School of Chinese Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

5 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Taipei City Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

6 Department of Physical Therapy and Assistive Technology, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012, 13:13  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-13

Published: 8 February 2012

Abstract

Background

It is still unclear when latent myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) develop during early life. This study is designed to investigate the mechanical pain sensitivity of deep tissues in children in order to see the possible timing of the development of latent MTrPs and attachment trigger points (A-TrPs) in school children.

Methods

Five hundreds and five healthy school children (age 4- 11 years) were investigated. A pressure algometer was used to measure the pressure pain threshold (PPT) at three different sites in the brachioradialis muscle: the lateral epicondyle at elbow (site A, assumed to be the A-TrP site), the mid-point of the muscle belly (site B, assumed to be the MTrP site), and the muscle-tendon junction as a control site (site C).

Results

The results showed that, for all children in this study, the mean PPT values was significantly lower (p < 0.05) at the assumed A-TrP site (site A) than at the other two sites, and was significantly lower (p < 0.05) at the assumed MTrP site (site B) than at the control site (site C). These findings are consistent if the data is analyzed for different genders, different dominant sides, and different activity levels.

Conclusions

It is concluded that a child had increased sensitivity at the tendon attachment site and the muscle belly (endplate zone) after age of 4 years. Therefore, it is likely that a child may develop an A-Trp and a latent MTrP at the brachioradialis muscle after the age of 4 years. The changes in sensitivity, or the development for these trigger points, may not be related to the activity level of children aged 7-11 years. Further investigation is still required to indentify the exact timing of the initial occurrence of a-Trps and latent MTrPs.

Keywords:
myofascial trigger points; children; pressure pain threshold; algometry