Pain-related avoidance and endurance behaviour in migraine: an observational study

Author: Ruscheweyh, Ruth; Pereira, Diana; Hasenbring, Monika I.; Straube, Andreas
Language: English
Published: 2019
Source: PubMed Central (PMC)
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BACKGROUND: The role of avoidance and endurance behaviour is well established in chronic musculoskeletal pain, but less is known about its significance in migraine. METHODS: The Avoidance-Endurance Questionnaire behavioural subscales, the Pain Disability Index (PDI), the Migraine Disability Assessment Scale (MIDAS) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) were obtained from 128 migraine patients (90 episodic, 38 chronic). Sixty nine of them were re-evaluated after 3–6 months. RESULTS: At baseline, there were positive relations between avoidance (especially social avoidance behaviour) and pain-related disability as assessed by the PDI (Wald χ(2) [1] = 32.301, p < 0.001) and the MIDAS (Wald χ(2) [1] = 14.387, p < 0.001). A negative relation of endurance behaviour with PDI scores did not survive multiple regression analysis. In addition, there was a positive relation of social avoidance with the HADS depression score (Wald χ(2) [1] = 3.938, p = 0.047) and a negative relation of endurance (especially the humour-distraction subscale) with the HADS anxiety score (Wald χ(2) [1] = 6.163, p = 0.013). Neither avoidance nor endurance were related to headache intensity or frequency, or to a diagnosis of episodic vs. chronic migraine. 3–6 months after treatment at our headache centre, headache frequency, intensity and pain-related disability were significantly improved (all p < 0.01) while avoidance and endurance were unchanged. CONCLUSIONS: This indicates that improvement in headache frequency and disability can be achieved in the absence of changes in avoidance or endurance behaviour. However, because of its significant link to headache-related disability, avoidance behaviour (especially social avoidance) should be investigated as a potential additional target of migraine therapy.