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Stress and chronic headache


The aims of this study were to assess how stress affects chronic headaches, and in particular to determine whether events play a role in the transformation of an episodic headache into a chronic form. A population of 267 Italian patients with chronic headache (headache present on average more than 15 days per month) was studied. Our results confirm a triggering role of stress on headache. We also found that episodic headache (migraine in most patients, 74.1%) preceded the development of a chronic form in about 90% cases. Among these patients, in 44.8% a stressful event correlated with the transformation. Analysis of these events revealed that minor events played a greater role than major life events, suggesting that patients with transformed headache are characterised by a different way of reacting to stress.

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D'Amico, D., Libro, G., Prudenzano, M. et al. Stress and chronic headache. J Headache Pain 1, S49–S52 (2000).

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  • Key words Chronic headache
  • Stress
  • Life events
  • Trigger factor
  • Migraine
  • Transformation of headache


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