European journal of oral sciences vol:105 issue:6 pages:583-7
Pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) of the bilateral masseter and temporalis muscles were assessed over a single day and in between 2 days with the aid of an electronic algometer in 11 males and 11 females. Using a mixed model approach, covariance results were controlled for confounding of gender, day, time of the day and the within-session replications of the measurements. For every jaw muscle, the first PPT measurement of a session was markedly higher than the last one of that same session. Except for the right temporalis muscles, no significant systematic PPT differences could be observed between male and female subjects. The differences between morning and afternoon sessions were not significant for any of the muscles tested. Although the PPTs measured on the 1st day were systematically lower than those on the 2nd day for the left masseter and temporalis muscles, no significant difference between the time of the day could be observed when the values of the different muscles were grouped within a subject. Analysis of variance showed that the variability induced by the day or the time of the day was similar to the variability of the measurement itself. The inter-individual variability of PPTs was 2.3 to 9 x higher than the variability observed between trials, sessions or days. The results indicate that the PPT measurement will not be systematically influenced by the time of registration (morning/afternoon) or inbetween consecutive days. In addition, the important inter-individual differences favor the use of longitudinal within-subject studies.