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Responses of algesic and metabolic substances to 8 h of repetitive manual work in myalgic human trapezius muscle

Tidsskriftartikel - 2008


The trapezius muscle often develops pain as the result of repetitive and stressful work tasks although it is unclear to what extent this pain is due to alterations in muscle concentrations of algesic/nociceptive substances. Twenty women with chronic neck- and shoulder pain (TM) whose work required highly repetitive work tasks and 20 pain-free female colleagues (CON) were studied during and after a full 8-hour workday. We collected microdialysates from their dominant/most painful trapezius muscle; concentrations of serotonin, glutamate, lactate, pyruvate, potassium, bradykinin, and cytokines and blood flow were determined. In addition, we measured surface electromyogram, task exposure level, pain intensity, perceived mental stress, and urine-cortisol. In connection to the clinical neck and shoulder examination, we determined pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) over the trapezius and tibialis muscles. TM had higher concentrations of glutamate (71 ± 42 vs. 36 ± 15 µmol l-1) and pyruvate (187 ± 89 vs. 125 ± 63 µmol l-1) than CON. Interstitial serotonin was higher in TM (before work: 10.6 ± 10.8 vs. 2.2 ± 1.2 nM; after work: 9.2 ± 8.3 vs. 1.5 ± 2.9 nM). The trapezius blood flow during the working day was higher in TM than in CON. TM had lower PPT and higher pain intensity throughout the working day. No differences in EMG, task exposure level, mental stress, or urine-cortisol in the groups were found. These findings support the idea that peripheral nociceptive processes are activated in occupationally active subjects, who are diagnosed with trapezius myalgia. In contrast, no sign of low blood flow or increased stress or muscle activity markers were found in TM.


Larsson B, Rosendal L, Kristiansen J, Sjøgaard G, Søgaard K, Ghafouri B, Abdiu A, Kjaer M, Gerdle B. Responses of algesic and metabolic substances to 8 h of repetitive manual work in myalgic human trapezius muscle. Pain 2008;140(3):479-490.
doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2008.10.001

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