The Relationship Between Latent Trigger Points and Depression Levels in Healthy Subjects

Clin Rheumatol. 2012 Jun;31(6):907-11. doi: 10.1007/s10067-012-1950-3. Epub 2012 Feb 11.


Our purpose was to study the relationship between latent trigger points (LTrP) and levels of depression in healthy subjects. A total of 76 healthy subjects consisting of 40 men and 36 women (mean age, 25.4 ± 4.8 years; age range, 19-42 years) from the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation and the Orthopaedics and Traumatology Department of Istanbul University Medical Faculty were selected for the study. Latent trigger points on the scapular muscles of each subject were evaluated. The upper and middle trapezius, supraspinatus, serratus anterior, and rhomboideus muscles were examined respectively, by palpation with the thumb, to determine whether there was pain. The first group consisted of 30 subjects (20 men and 10 women; mean age, 24.2 ± 5.02 years) who had previously been diagnosed as negative after an LTrP examination (control group), while the second group consisted of 28 subjects (12 men and 16 women; mean age, 23.6 ± 2.24 years) who had been diagnosed with at least five LTrPs. The third group consisted of 18 subjects (8 men and 10 women; mean age, 26. 9 ± 7.23 years) who had been diagnosed with more than five LTrPs. All groups were assessed, using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The mean BDI value was found to be 8.0 ± 4.2 in the first group, 10.3 ± 3.4 in the second, and 28.5 ± 4.8 in the third. A significant difference was found between the mean BDI values of the first and second groups and also between the first and third groups. The mean BDI values of the second and third groups were also found to be statistically significant (p = 0.042). We observed a close relationship between the presence of LTrPs and depression levels in healthy people.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / complications*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / complications*
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / therapy
  • Neck Muscles
  • Pain
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Trigger Points