Cardiovascular responses to cognitive stress in patients with migraine and tension-type headache
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMC Neurology 2007, 7:23 10.1186/1471-2377-7-23
Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the temporal relationship between autonomic changes and pain activation in migraine and tension-type headache induced by stress in a model relevant for everyday office-work. Methods: We measured pain, blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR) and skin blood flow (BF) during and after controlled low-grade cognitive stress in 22 migraineurs during headache-free periods, 18 patients with tension-type headache (TTH) and 44 healthy controls. The stress lasted for one hour and was followed by 30 minutes of relaxation. Results: Cardiovascular responses to cognitive stress in migraine did not differ from those in control subjects. In TTH patients HR was maintained during stress, whereas it decreased for migraineurs and controls. A trend towards a delayed systolic BP response during stress was also observed in TTH. Finger BF recovery was delayed after stress and stress-induced pain was associated with less vasoconstriction in TTH during recovery. Conclusion: It is hypothesized that TTH patients have different stress adaptive mechanisms than controls and migraineurs, involving delayed cardiovascular adaptation and reduced pain control system inhibition.