Association between central sensitization, pain sensitivity and balance control in patients with migraine

A. Sennholz, T. M. Szikszay, T. Marusich, K. Luedtke, G. F. Carvalho*

*Korrespondierende/r Autor/-in für diese Arbeit


Background: Balance alterations are prevalent among pain conditions, including migraine. The mechanisms explaining the association between pain and balance are unclear, as well as whether levels of pain sensitivity correlate with impaired balance. Our aim was therefore to investigate the association between balance, central sensitization symptoms and pain sensitivity in patients with migraine. Methods: This cross-sectional study included 50 patients and demographic, clinical information, central sensitization inventory (CSI) and pain catastrophizing (PCS) scores were obtained. Patients underwent a standardized protocol evaluating balance and pain thresholds for cold (CPT), heat (HPT), mechanical (MPT) and pressure (PPT) in trigeminal (V1) and extra-trigeminal (C6) dermatomes. Data were analysed using Person's correlation, linear regression models and contrasting the presence and absence of central sensitization symptoms through T-tests. Results: Mild-to-moderate correlations were observed between balance and MPT in V1 (r = −0.24, p = 0.046) and C6 (r = −0.41, p = 0.002), CPT in V1 (r = 0.31, p = 0.026), CSI scores (r = 0.27, p = 0.029) and migraine frequency (r = 0.25, p = 0.040). Balance was explained by CPT and MPT (R2 = 0.32, p = 0.001). The variance of CSI was explained by PCS scores and balance (R2 = 0.28, p = 0.001). Patients with symptoms of central sensitization presented an increased balance impairment (p = 0.044) and higher catastrophizing levels (p = 0.001) in contrast to patients without symptoms. Conclusion: Balance impairment is associated with reduced pain thresholds and higher CSI scores. These results may help to elucidate the aetiology of balance alterations among chronic pain conditions. Significance: For the first time, it has been shown that balance alterations can reflect greater pain sensitivity and signs of central sensitization in patients with migraine. This opens up perspectives for future studies to understand the mechanisms and further factors associated with balance and pain sensitivity in migraine.

ZeitschriftEuropean Journal of Pain (United Kingdom)
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 15.12.2023

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