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Skin Pain, Sensitivity Rises With Migraine
Date:4/23/2008

Almost two-thirds of people with these headaches suffer from skin discomfort, study finds,,,,

WEDNESDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- People who have migraines -- either chronic or episodic -- are more likely to suffer from serious skin pain and sensitivity, new research shows.

As many as two-thirds of those affected by migraines may also experience a condition called cutaneous allodynia. Cutaneous allodynia is skin sensitivity and pain so severe that everyday activities like brushing your hair or wearing jewelry can cause pain.

"The phenomenon of cutaneous allodynia seems to be correlated to true migraine," said headache expert Dr. Bruce Silverman, a neurologist at Providence Hospital and Medical Centers in Southfield, Mich. "For those with migraine and cutaneous allodynia, the idea of treating prior to the onset of symptoms may offer a greater response."

To assess the prevalence of cutaneous allodynia, researchers led by Dr. Marcelo Bigal, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City, surveyed almost 17,000 people who experienced headaches. Their questionnaires asked about the type of headaches suffered, how often, whether or not their quality of life was affected, whether or not they suffered from depression, or if they had any other illnesses that might cause pain. Survey participants were also asked to complete the allodynia symptom checklist (ASC), an assessment tool previously designed by the study's authors.

The study, which is in the April 22 issue of the journal Neurology, found that almost 12,000 people reported suffering from migraines. Another 1,491 had headaches that were probably migraines, and 3,345 experienced other types of headaches, such as tension headaches.

Of those who reported having chronic migraines -- daily headaches -- 68 percent also experienced cutaneous allodynia. In those with episodic migraines, 63 percent also experienced the condition.
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