Salivary cortisol response to acute stress and its relation to psychological factors in women with chronic trapezius myalgia--a pilot study.Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2010 Jun; 35(5):674-85.P
This study investigated differences in HPA axis function, measured as salivary cortisol concentrations, between 18 women with chronic trapezius myalgia (MYA) and 30 healthy female controls (CON). In addition, the interactions between HPA axis reactions to psychosocial stress and aspects of pain, health and psychological symptoms were analyzed. Salivary cortisol was measured both in daily life, to assess the circadian profile, and in the laboratory during light repetitive work and standardized psychosocial stress (Trier Social Stress Test, TSST). MYA and CON exhibited similar circadian rhythms and comparable salivary cortisol response magnitudes after TSST. In subjects defined as responders to the TSST, the mean peak time point of the cortisol response after TSST differed significantly between MYA and CON. Furthermore, negative psychological states and higher pain intensity were related to a slower HPA axis response to TSST. Low circadian variations in cortisol and smaller cortisol responses to TSST were found among subjects scoring high on anxiety sensitivity. Thus, a relatively favorable sample of female chronic trapezius myalgia patients exhibited normal circadian rhythm and normal salivary cortisol response magnitudes after a psychosocial stress test. In the subgroup of responders, the MYA group showed indications of a slower salivary cortisol response to psychosocial stress. Further studies are needed to elucidate the possibility of altered HPA axis activity in terms of a slower salivary cortisol response.