Psychophysical testing in chronic migraine and chronic tension type headache: An observational study

Ignacio Elizagaray-García, Gabriela F. Carvalho, Tibor M. Szikszay, Waclaw M. Adamczyk, Gonzalo Navarro-Fernández, Paula Alvarez-Testillano, Javier Díaz-de-Terán, Kerstin Luedtke, Alfonso Gil-Martínez*

*Corresponding author for this work
3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Clinical presentation is the key to the diagnosis of patients with migraine and tension-type headache, but features may overlap when both become chronic. Psychophysical parameters may distinguish both conditions. We aimed to compare psychophysical aspects of patients with chronic migraine, chronic tension-type headache and headache-free controls, and to determine whether these can predict headache frequency. Methods: An examiner blinded to the diagnosis assessed 100 participants (chronic migraine (n = 38), chronic tension-type headache (n = 31) and controls (n = 31)). Assessed variables included painful area, pressure pain thresholds, temporal summation, cervical range of motion, neck posture, headache and neck impact, quality of life, and kinesiophobia. Comparison between groups was performed with one-way ANOVA and multiple linear regression was used to assess the headache frequency predictors. Results: We found differences of both headache groups compared to controls (p < 0.01), but not between headache groups. Neck disability was a significant predictor of headache frequency for chronic tension-type headache (adjusted R2 = 0.14; β = 0.43; p = 0.03) and chronic migraine (adjusted R2 = 0.18; β = 0.51; p < 0.01). Conclusions: Chronic tension-type headache and chronic migraine showed similar psychophysical results, but were significantly worse when compared to controls. The psychophysical examination did not discriminate between headache types. The variable best explaining headache frequency for both headache types was neck disability.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)618-630
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 06.2022

Research Areas and Centers

  • Health Sciences

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-01 Epidemiology, Medical Biometrics/Statistics
  • 206-07 Clinical Neurology Neurosurgery and Neuroradiology

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