Pain perception studies in tension-type headache

David Bezov, Sait Ashina, Rigmor Jensen, Lars Bendtsen

93 Citationer (Scopus)

Abstract

Tension-type headache (TTH) is a disorder with high prevalence and significant impact on society. Understanding of pathophysiology of TTH is paramount for development of effective treatments and prevention of chronification of TTH. Our aim was to review the findings from pain perception studies of pathophysiology of TTH as well as to review the research of pathophysiology of TTH. Pain perception studies such as measurement of muscle tenderness, pain detection thresholds, pain tolerance thresholds, pain response to suprathreshold stimulation, temporal summation and diffuse noxious inhibitory control (DNIC) have played a central role in elucidating the pathophysiology of TTH. It has been demonstrated that continuous nociceptive input from peripheral myofascial structures may induce central sensitization and thereby chronification of the headache. Measurements of pain tolerance thresholds and suprathreshold stimulation have shown presence of generalized hyperalgesia in chronic tension-type headache (CTTH) patients, while DNIC function has been shown to be reduced in CTTH. One imaging study showed loss of gray matter structures involved in pain processing in CTTH patients. Future studies should aim to integrate pain perception and imaging to confirm this finding. Pharmacological studies have shown that drugs like tricyclic anti-depressant amitriptyline and nitric oxide synthase inhibitors can reverse central sensitization and the chronicity of headache. Finally, low frequency electrical stimulation has been shown to rapidly reverse central sensitization and may be a new modality in treatment of CTTH and other chronic pain disorders.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftHeadache
Vol/bind51
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)262-71
Antal sider10
ISSN0017-8748
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2011

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