A pilot study at the University of Bologna’s Neurological Department looked at 126 migraineurs. Data was collected including migraine features, frequency and medications over a period of two years. The researchers wanted to see if cephalalgiaphobia (the fear of having a headache during a pain-free period) was related to migraine frequency, or medication overuse.
Some of the questions the patients were asked included:
1. When you are feeling well do you ever fear you will have a migraine attack?
2. Have you ever used painkillers even though you were not having pain, but you were scared of a possible migraine attack?
3. Have you ever used a second dose of painkilling drugs just because you feared that the pain would get worse before it actually did?
The results of the study found that people with higher attacks frequency suffered more often from cephalalgiaphobia and that it may play a role in increasing migraine frequency. The researchers believe that migraine worsening could be brought on by an increase in medication intake, a risk factor for chronicization.
While the researchers admit their study is small, they believe cephalalgiaphobia should be looked at in larger studies, and should be better treated to reduce the risk of migraine frequency increase and disability. They also believe clinicians need to better understand it, and measures be developed through psychological techniques and pharmacologically to help patients suffering from it…….The Journal of Headache and Pain springeropen.com 6/10/13