MONDAY, Aug. 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Neck pain does not necessarily indicate cervical musculoskeletal dysfunction when present with migraine, according to a study recently published online in Headache.

Zhiqi Liang, from the University of Queensland in St. Lucia, Australia, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional, single-blinded study involving 124 persons with migraine (106 with episodic migraine; 18 with chronic migraine), 32 healthy controls, and 21 persons with idiopathic neck pain. Participants were assessed using a set of measures for cervical movement range and accuracy, segmental joint dysfunction, and neuromuscular and sensorimotor function.

The researchers identified two distinct clusters of cervical musculoskeletal function: neck function similar to healthy controls and neck dysfunction similar to persons with neck pain disorders (108 and 69 persons, respectively). Of the individuals with migraine, 76 (62 with and 14 without neck pain) were clustered as having normal cervical musculoskeletal function and 48 with neck pain had cervical dysfunction comparable to a neck disorder. There was no association observed between musculoskeletal dysfunction and pain hypersensitivity or symptoms during testing.

“This stresses the need for an individualized skilled assessment of cervical musculoskeletal function to differentiate a central versus peripheral origin of neck pain or a combination of both,” the authors write. “There should be no reliance on only pain or tenderness, which often reflects the general pain hypersensitivity commonly present in persons with migraine.”

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