Tender or not tender: test-retest repeatability of pressure pain thresholds in the trapezius and deltoid muscles of healthy women
Ann L. Persson A1, Christina Brogårdh A2, Bengt H. Sjölund A2
A1 Department of Rehabilitation Lund University Hospital Lund Sweden
A2 Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation Umeå University Umeå Sweden
Objective: To examine the test-retest repeatability of pressure pain thresholds in the shoulder muscles of healthy women. Design: Four experimental sessions (days 1, 3, 28, 30), each including 4 consecutive pressure pain threshold measurements at 10-minute intervals. Subjects: Twenty-four healthy female volunteers, mean age 42 years. Methods: Two examiners measured pressure pain thresholds bilaterally over the trapezius and deltoid muscles with an electronic algometer. Student's paired t-test, intraclass correlation coefficient, ANOVA repeated measures, 95% confidence interval and mean maximal absolute measurement error, were used for statistics. Results: Reliability for each point in all sessions was high; ICC range 0.70-0.94, mean maximal differences; 53-102 kPa (all 4 muscles), and between points in each muscle: ICC right trapezius 0.59-0.77, left 0.67-0.84, right deltoid 0.66-0.83, left 0.70-0.90. Mean maximal differences were 69-101 kPa and 65-111 kPa for the trapezius and deltoid muscles, respectively. The inter-individual variation was 5-fold (trapezius 88-574 kPa; deltoid 91-529 kPa). At the group level, the variation was limited when the first measurement was excluded. Inter-rater and intra-rater repeatability was high without significant differences. Only small side-to-side differences were seen. Conclusion: Repeated measurements show stable intra-individual values. The method can be recommended when used by trained and experienced examiners.
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