BACKGROUND: Sensitization mechanisms are thought to play a role in the perception of pain in people with cluster headache. No study has investigated the relation between the spatial extent of pain in cluster headache and measures of sensitization or other clinical features. Objective: Our aim was to investigate if the size of the painful area in people with cluster headache relates to widespread pressure sensitivity, headache features, and psychological outcomes. Methods: Forty men with episodic cluster headache reported their symptoms on a digital body chart and pain extent was calculated. Pressure pain thresholds were assessed locally over the temporalis muscle and the C5-C6 joint and at a remote site over the tibialis anterior to assess widespread pressure sensitivity. Clinical features of headache attacks, and anxiety/depressive levels were also assessed. Patients were assessed during a period of remission 6 months after their last pain attack and after treatment discontinuation. Results: Thirty-two (80%) and thirty (75%) patients reported their headaches in the orbital and the frontal areas, respectively. No significant associations (rho values ranging from -0.228 to 0.187, P values ranging from 0.157 to 0.861) were found between pain extent and pressure pain thresholds in trigeminal, extra-trigeminal, and distant pain-free areas, headache clinical features, and anxiety and depressive levels. Conclusion: Pain extent in the trigemino-cervical area was not related to the degree of pressure pain sensitivity or headache features in men with episodic cluster headache during a period of remission.
- Cluster headache
- pain extent
- pressure pain
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation