Effect of physical training on pain sensitivity and trapezius muscle morphology

Muscle Nerve. 2010 Jun;41(6):836-44. doi: 10.1002/mus.21577.


The objective of this study was to investigate morphological and physiological characteristics of painful muscles in women with (MYA, n= 42) and without (CON, n = 20) trapezius myalgia, and assess changes in response to a 10-week, randomized, controlled trial. MYA accomplished: (1) specific strength training (SST); (2) general fitness training (GFT); or (3) reference intervention (REF). Differences in muscle morphology could not be detected by ultrasound imaging. Significantly lower pressure pain threshold (PPT) and shoulder torque were observed for MYA, indicating pain-related lack of full activation. After 10 weeks, increased shoulder torque and PPT of the painful trapezius were observed in SST solely. The PPT of a pain-free reference muscle was increased in response to both SST and GFT, indicating a general effect of physical activity on pain perception. This study shows clinically relevant improvement in pain sensitivity and muscle strength capacity in response to SST.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Muscular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Muscular Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Organ Size
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ultrasonography
  • Weight Lifting
  • Weight-Bearing

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN87055459