Does more stress equal more headaches?

February 19, 2014, American Academy of Neurology

A new study provides evidence for what many people who experience headache have long suspected—having more stress in your life leads to more headaches. The study released today will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, April 26 to May 3, 2014.

For the study, 5,159 people age 21 to 71 in the general population were surveyed about their and four times a year for two years. Participants stated how many headaches they had per month and rated their stress level on a scale of zero to 100.

A total of 31 percent of the participants had tension-type headache, 14 percent had , 11 percent had migraine combined with tension-type headache and for 17 percent the headache type was not classified. Those with tension-type headache rated their stress at an average of 52 out of 100. For migraine, it was 62 out of 100 and 59 for those with migraine and tension-type headache.

For each type of headache, an increase in stress was associated with an increase in the number of headaches per month. For those with tension headache, an increase of 10 points on the stress scale was associated with a 6.3-percent increase in the number of headache days per month. For migraine, the number of headache days per month went up by 4.3 percent, and 4 percent for those with migraine and tension headache. The results were adjusted to account for factors that could affect the number of headaches, such as drinking, smoking and frequent use of headache drugs.

"These results show that this is a problem for everyone who suffers from headaches and emphasize the importance of stress management approaches for people with migraine and those who treat them," said study author Sara H. Schramm, MD, of University Hospital of University Duisburg-Essen in Germany. "The results add weight to the concept that can be a factor contributing to the onset of headache disorders, that it accelerates the progression to , exacerbates headache episodes, and that the headache experience itself can serve as a stressor."

Explore further: Botox injections associated with only modest benefit for chronic migraine and daily headaches

Related Stories

Botox injections associated with only modest benefit for chronic migraine and daily headaches

April 24, 2012
Although botulinum toxin A ("Botox") injections are U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for preventive treatment for chronic migraines, a review and analysis of previous studies finds a small to modest benefit for ...

Research ties lightning to onset of headache, migraines

January 24, 2013
University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers have found that lightning may affect the onset of headache and migraines.

IHC: united states has shortage of headache specialists

June 27, 2013
(HealthDay)—There is a widespread shortage of certified headache specialists in the United States compared with the expected migraine population, according to a study presented at the 2013 International Headache Congress, ...

Recommended for you

Brain zaps may help curb tics of Tourette syndrome

January 16, 2018
Electric zaps can help rewire the brains of Tourette syndrome patients, effectively reducing their uncontrollable vocal and motor tics, a new study shows.

A 'touching sight': How babies' brains process touch builds foundations for learning

January 16, 2018
Touch is the first of the five senses to develop, yet scientists know far less about the baby's brain response to touch than to, say, the sight of mom's face, or the sound of her voice.

Researchers identify protein involved in cocaine addiction

January 16, 2018
Mount Sinai researchers have identified a protein produced by the immune system—granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF)—that could be responsible for the development of cocaine addiction.

Neuroscientists suggest a model for how we gain volitional control of what we hold in our minds

January 16, 2018
Working memory is a sort of "mental sketchpad" that allows you to accomplish everyday tasks such as calling in your hungry family's takeout order and finding the bathroom you were just told "will be the third door on the ...

Brain imaging predicts language learning in deaf children

January 15, 2018
In a new international collaborative study between The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, researchers created a machine learning algorithm that uses brain scans to predict ...

Preterm babies may suffer setbacks in auditory brain development, speech

January 15, 2018
Preterm babies born early in the third trimester of pregnancy are likely to experience delays in the development of the auditory cortex, a brain region essential to hearing and understanding sound, a new study reveals. Such ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.