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The relationship between migraine pain and other associated symptoms


Leslie Kelman MD, Medical Director, Headache Center of Atlanta, 5671 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Suite 620, Atlanta, GA 30342, USA. Tel. + 1 404 843 9958, fax + 1 404 843 1883, e-mail


This study explores the relationship of the pain of the migraine headache and the associated features of migraine. Migraineurs (n = 1025) (ICHD-2, 1.1–1.2 and 1.5.1) were evaluated retrospectively using a detailed database (daily unremitting excluded). Variables studied included headache intensity and duration, associated symptoms and pain characteristics. Non-parametric correlations were used to evaluate relationships among variables. Headache intensity correlated with nausea, vomiting, photophobia, phonophobia, dizziness (all P = 0.000), running of the nose/tearing of the eyes (P = 0.007), and osmophobia (P = 0.044), but not with diarrhoea or taste abnormality. Headache duration correlated only with osmophobia (P = 0.002) and taste abnormality (P = 0.005). Throbbing, pressure and stabbing pain correlated with most of the associated symptoms. Aching correlated only with taste abnormality. This correlational study demonstrates that migraine pain is clearly related to nausea, but is also correlated with other associated migraine symptoms. Taste abnormality and osmophobia are better correlated with headache duration rather than headache intensity.