Prevalence and anatomical location of muscle tenderness in adults with nonspecific neck/shoulder pain

Tidsskriftartikel - 2011

Resume

[Open access] Background: Many adults experience bothersome neck/shoulder pain. While research and treatment strategies often focus on the upper trapezius, other neck/shoulder muscles may be affected as well. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the prevalence and anatomical location of muscle tenderness in adults with nonspecific neck/shoulder pain.Methods: Clinical neck/shoulder examination at two large office workplaces in Copenhagen, Denmark. 174 women and 24 men (aged 25-65 years) with nonspecific neck/shoulder pain for a duration of at least 30 days during the previous year and a pain intensity of at least 2 on a modified VAS-scale of 0-10 participated. Exclusion criteria were traumatic injuries or other serious chronic disease. Using a standardized finger pressure of 2 kg, palpable tenderness were performed of eight anatomical neck/shoulder locations in the left and right side on a scale of 'no tenderness', 'some tenderness' and 'severe tenderness'.Results: In women, the levator scapulae, neck extensors and infraspinatus showed the highest prevalence of severe tenderness (18-30%). In comparison, the prevalence of severe tenderness in the upper trapezius, occipital border and supraspinatus was 13-19%. Severe tenderness of the medial deltoid was least prevalent (0-1%). In men, the prevalence of severe tenderness in the levator scapulae was 13-21%, and ranged between 0-8% in the remainder of the examined anatomical locations.Conclusions: A high prevalence of tenderness exists in several anatomical locations of the neck/shoulder complex among adults with nonspecific neck/shoulder pain. Future research should focus on several neck/shoulder muscles, including the levator scapulae, neck extensors and infraspinatus, and not only the upper trapezius.

Reference

Andersen LL, Hansen K, Mortensen O, Zebis MK. Prevalence and anatomical location of muscle tenderness in adults with nonspecific neck/shoulder pain. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2011;12(169):.
doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-12-169

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