, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp 460-465

Central and peripheral sensitization in tension-type headache

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Recent studies on tension-type headache indicate that the nociceptive input to the central nervous system may be increased as a result of activation or sensitization of peripheral sensory afferents. Moreover, pain perception studies and pharmacologic studies strongly suggest that the central nervous system is sensitized in patients with chronic tensiontype headache. The barrage of nociceptive impulses from the periphery may be responsible for the sensitization of second- and third-order neurons in the central nervous system. In this way, sensitization may play a role in the initiation and maintenance of tension-type headache. Studies have demonstrated that treatment with drugs that counteract sensitization has an analgesic effect on tension-type headache. Targeting this mode of action seems to be a promising way of improving the treatment for this prevalent disorder.