Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Pain Research and Management
Volume 17, Issue 6, Pages 377-380
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/132830
Original Article

Pain Sensitivity Mediates The Relationship between Stress and Headache Intensity in Chronic Tension-Type Headache

Stuart Cathcart,1 Navjot Bhullar,2 Maarten Immink,3 Chris Della Vedova,4 and John Hayball4

1Centre for Applied Psychology, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia
2Centre for Health Initiatives, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia
3School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
4School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: A central model for chronic tension-type headache (CTH) posits that stress contributes to headache, in part, by aggravating existing hyperalgesia in CTH sufferers. The prediction from this model that pain sensitivity mediates the relationship between stress and headache activity has not yet been examined.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether pain sensitivity mediates the relationship between stress and prospective headache activity in CTH sufferers.

METHOD: Self-reported stress, pain sensitivity and prospective headache activity were measured in 53 CTH sufferers recruited from the general population. Pain sensitivity was modelled as a mediator between stress and headache activity, and tested using a nonparametric bootstrap analysis.

RESULTS: Pain sensitivity significantly mediated the relationship between stress and headache intensity.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of the present study support the central model for CTH, which posits that stress contributes to headache, in part, by aggravating existing hyperalgesia in CTH sufferers. Implications for the mechanisms and treatment of CTH are discussed.