Spatial Distribution of Head Pain as a Factor in Migraine Experience


  • J. F. Campbell,

  • Mitch A. Brisebois,

  • Nicole M. G. Hughes



By means of a life-size three-dimensional head model, 12 subjects reporting the symptoms of classic migraine described the spatial distribution of pain at its most intense. A correlational analysis indicated that a decrease in the surface area of pain was related to an increase in the salience of such symptoms as bilateral pain onset, the spread of pain to include the whole head, increased olfactory sensitivity, excessive sweating, and teeth or jaw aches, in the subjects' experience of headache. Concurrently, subjects reporting the smaller areas tended to describe the pain as “sharp” and “piercing”, while those reporting larger areas tended to describe the pain as “pounding” and “heavy”.