European Journal of Pain vol:5 issue:1 pages:27-37
The aim of this investigation was to evaluate whether the pressure pain threshold (PPT) in masticatory muscles of symptom-free subjects was influenced by fluctuations of the sex hormones. The PPT was measured with an electronic algometer for at least 10 consecutive menstrual cycles in 10 women using oral contraceptives and 10 women not using oral contraceptives, with a regular menstrual cycle (26-31 days). In addition, 10 men were measured in a regular pattern over a period of 1 year. All subjects were symptom-free with an age range between 18 and 39 years. Measurement sessions were held during three different cycle phases (follicular, luteal, perimenstrual) and each session consisted of four consecutive PPT measurements. By means of a linear mixed model (SAS), the PPTs of the masster, temporalis and thumb muscles were compared between: (1) groups, (2) sex-hormonal phases, (3) the four consecutive measurements of each muscle per session and (4) time. The PPTs of the masseter (p = 0.8419) and temporalis muscles (p = 0.2786) did not change significantly over time. There was no significant difference in variance for the masseter (p = 0.6250), temporalis (p = 0.9705) and thumb (p = 0.7446) between the three groups. The PPTs of all muscles were significantly lower during the perimenstrual phases in the two female groups. The present data showed similar patterns of PPTs for the three muscle groups. Moreover, the results have shown a very good consistency of the PPTs over a long time period, both in males and females.