App identifies factors tied to “high” and “low” headache pain days – Healio

By | July 13, 2019

PHILADELPHIA – Researchers used a smartphone app to identify factors associated with “high” and “low” migraine pain days in those with chronic migraine, which may allow patients to make lifestyle changes that could improve their condition.

Stephen Donoghue, PhD, vice president of clinical research at Curelator Inc., and colleagues reviewed data from 141 patients with chronic migraine to determine a way to statistically identify factors associated with migraine in people who have more total headache days each month than days without pain.

“We’ve done a lot of work with episodic migraine, looking at occurrence of attacks, but the sort of analysis we use there really doesn’t apply to chronic patients, because they’ve got headache most days,” Donoghue told Healio Primary Care.

Participants used N-1 Headache, a smartphone app, to record details about daily headaches and peak severity of headache pain. Univariate logistic models were used to evaluate associations between self-reported factors on days with no or mild pain, or “low” pain days, and days with moderate or severe pain, or “high” pain days in those with chronic migraine.

The mean age of patients was 43.9 years, and patients averaged 23.4 headache days each month with 19.4 migraine days.

The most common factors associated with higher probability for “high” pain days were light sensitivity (66.6%), noise sensitivity (50%), poor concentration (46.2%), allodynia (39.7%), and neck pain (36.2%).

For “low” pain days, factors associated with higher probability for “low” pain days were happiness (33.3%), feeling refreshed after sleep (31.8%), sleep quality (21.2%), relaxedness (15.8%), and drinking white wine (13.3%).

Researchers noted that factors varied between patients, suggesting that individual analysis is needed.

“We look at every individual, and we say what factors are associated with that individual’s bad days, ‘high’ headache days,” Donoghue said. “If they can then be made aware of what those factors are, what we believe is that they can use that information, and it may help them identify when they’re likely to be going into a bad migraine day, or it may help them make behavioral changes to help them cope with the fact that they’re going into a bad migraine day.” – by Erin Michael


Donoghue S, et al. Detecting factors associated with “low” and “high” headache pain in individuals with chronic migraine. Presented at: American Headache Society Annual Scientific Meeting; July 11-14, 2019; Philadelphia.

Disclosures: Healio Primary Care was unable to confirm relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.

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