J Headache Pain. 2009 Jun 5;
Cathcart S, Winefield AH, Lushington K, Rolan P
Mental stress is a noted contributing factor in chronic tension-type headache (CTH), however the mechanisms underlying this are not clearly understood. One proposition is that stress aggravates already increased pain sensitivity in CTH sufferers. This hypothesis could be partially tested by examining effects of mental stress on threshold and supra-threshold experimental pain processing in CTH sufferers. Such studies have not been reported to date. The present study measured pain detection and tolerance thresholds and ratings of supra-threshold pain stimulation from cold pressor test in CTH sufferers (CTH-S) and healthy Control (CNT) subjects exposed to a 60-min stressful mental task, and in CTH sufferers exposed to a 60-min neutral condition (CTH-N). Headache sufferers had lower pain tolerance thresholds and increased pain intensity ratings compared to controls. Pain detection and tolerance thresholds decreased and pain intensity ratings increased during the stress task, with a greater reduction in pain detection threshold and increase in pain intensity ratings in the CTH-S compared to CNT group. The results support the hypothesis that mental stress contributes to CTH through aggravating already increased pain sensitivity in CTH sufferers."
(Via HubMed - pain.)