Psychophysiological Approaches to the Classification and Treatment of Headache

  • Clive Reading


The experience of headache is so common and the symptom pattern so varied, that establishing the prevalence of headache in general and of headache syndromes in particular is methodologically very difficult. Waters (1975) reviewed the epidemiology of migraine in adults and concluded that migraine may not be a separate entity but may be an extreme in a continuous spectrum of headache. The three main features of migraine — unilateral headache, the warning prior to attacks and nausea and/or vomiting — were reported to be extremely common in the general population, and occurred together no more frequently than would be expected on a chance basis. In view of the widespread occurrence of headache, and the widely held belief that a large proportion of headaches are the result of stressful stimulation combined with predisposing psychological and physiological characteristics (Bakal, 1975), it is somewhat surprising that only recently have there been attempts to objectively investigate psychological, behavioural and psychophysiological correlates of headache and its treatment. In a review of biopsychological aspects of migraine and muscle-contraction headache Bakal (1975) suggested that the aetiological factors are largely psychophysiologically based, and that a variety of psychological and behavioural techniques are effective in the teatment of headache.


Cluster Headache Migraine Patient Migraine Headache Chronic Headache Tension Headache 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clive Reading
    • 1
  1. 1.Manchester Area Health Authority (Teaching)UK

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