Generalized hyperalgesia in patients with chronic tension-type headache

S. Ashina, L. Bendtsen, M. Ashina, W. Magerl, R. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations

Abstract

Increased pain sensitivity in the central nervous system may play an important role in the pathophysiology of chronic tension-type headache (CTTH). Previous studies using pain thresholds as a measure of central pain sensitivity have yielded inconsistent results and only a few studies have examined perception of muscle pain without involvement of adjacent tissues. It has been suggested that suprathreshold testing might be more sensitive than threshold measurements in evaluation of central hyperexcitability in CTTH. The aim of the study was to compare pain ratings to suprathreshold single and repetitive (2 Hz) electrical stimulation of muscle and skin in cephalic (temporal and trapezius) and extracephalic (anterior tibial) regions between patients with CTTH and healthy subjects. In addition, we aimed to examine gender differences in pain ratings to suprathreshold stimulation and degree of temporal summation of pain between patients and controls. Pain ratings to both single and repetitive suprathreshold stimulation were higher in patients than in controls in both skin and muscle in all examined cephalic and extracephalic regions (P < 0.04). Pain ratings to both single and repetitive suprathreshold electrical stimulation were significantly higher in female compared with male patients (P < 0.001) and in female compared with male controls (P < 0.001). The degree of temporal summation of muscular and cutaneous pain tended to be higher in patients than in controls but the differences were not statistically different. This study provides evidence for generalized increased pain sensitivity in CTTH and strongly suggests that pain processing in the central nervous system is abnormal in this disorder. Furthermore, it indicates that suprathreshold stimulation is more sensitive than recording of pain thresholds for evaluation of generalized pain perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)940-948
Number of pages9
JournalCephalalgia
Volume26
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Central sensitization
  • Chronic tension-type
  • Cutaneous hyperalgesia
  • Headache
  • Muscular hyperalgesia
  • Suprathreshold stimulation

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Generalized hyperalgesia in patients with chronic tension-type headache'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this