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Study Links More Headaches to More Stress

Study Links More Headaches to More StressA new German study provides scientific evidence for what many people have suspected for years — that more stress in your life leads to more headaches.

Researchers surveyed 5,159 people age 21 to 71 about their stress levels and headaches; surveys were four times a year for two years.

Participants stated how many headaches they had per month and rated their stress level on a scale of zero to 100.

A total of 31 percent of the participants had tension-type headache, 14 percent had migraine, 11 percent had migraine combined with tension-type headache, and for 17 percent, the headache type was not classified.

Those with tension-type headache rated their stress at an average of 52 out of 100.

For migraine, it was 62 out of 100, and 59 for those with migraine and tension-type headache.

For each type of headache, an increase in stress was associated with an increase in the number of headaches per month.

For those with tension headache, an increase of 10 points on the stress scale was associated with a 6.3-percent increase in the number of headache days per month.

For migraine, the number of headache days per month went up by 4.3 percent, and 4 percent for those with migraine and tension headache.

The results were adjusted to account for factors that could affect the number of headaches, such as drinking, smoking, and frequent use of headache drugs.

“These results show that this is a problem for everyone who suffers from headaches and emphasize the importance of stress management approaches for people with migraine and those who treat them,” said study author Sara H. Schramm, M.D.

“The results add weight to the concept that stress can be a factor contributing to the onset of headache disorders, that it accelerates the progression to chronic headache, exacerbates headache episodes, and that the headache experience itself can serve as a stressor.”

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Study Links More Headaches to More Stress

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Study Links More Headaches to More Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 15, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/02/21/study-links-more-headaches-to-more-stress/66222.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.