This study aimed to verify if migraine frequency or migraine-associated neck pain were associated with a reduction of normalized force and altered electromyographic activity during maximal cervical muscle isometric contractions. Additionally, it aimed to assess the correlation of normalized isometric force with years with migraine, headache frequency, headache intensity, migraine-related disability, and severity of cutaneous allodynia. The sample comprises 71 women with migraine (40/31 episodic/chronic, 42/18 with/without neck pain) and 32 women without headache. Cervical muscle isometric force in flexion, extension, and lateral flexion was assessed synchronized with the acquisition of superficial electromyography from the cervical muscles. Women with episodic migraine presented lower normalized isometric force in extension, flexion, and right and left lateral flexions than controls (P < 0.05). Women with migraine and neck pain exhibited lower cervical extension and right/left lateral-flexions normalized isometric force than controls (P < 0.05). No significant differences were observed in antagonist activity. Normalized isometric force in all directions showed weak to moderate correlations with the severity of self-reported symptoms of cutaneous allodynia (- 0.25 ≥ r ≥ - 0.39). No additional linear correlation with clinical migraine features was observed. In conclusion, cervical muscle weakness may be associated with episodic migraine and neck pain concurrent with migraine attacks without altered antagonist activity. Additionally, it may also be related to the severity of cutaneous allodynia.
© 2021. The Author(s).