"The results add weight to the concept that stress can be a factor contributing to the onset of headache disorders, that it accelerates the progression to chronic headache, exacerbates headache episodes, and that the headache experience itself can serve as a stressor," Sara H. Schramm, MD, from University Hospital of University Duisburg-Essen in Germany, said in a statement.
"Our results underline the need for stress management strategies in people with headache, independent of the headache subtype," she added in comments to Medscape Medical News.
"Research suggests that mind/body treatments, including meditation, yoga or tai chi, and behavioral treatments such as stress management, coping skills, biofeedback and relaxation training may decrease headache frequency by 35% to 50%," Dr. Schramm noted.
Participants were screened quarterly from 2010 to 2012 about their stress levels and headaches using validated questionnaires. The researchers estimated the effects of stress intensity on headache frequency (days/month) for different headache subtypes, using a visual analogue scale from 0 to 100.
Tension-type headache (TTH) was reported by 31% of participants, migraine by 14%, and migraine combined with TTH by 11%. For 17%, the headache type was unclassifiable.
Those with TTH rated their stress at an average of 52 out of 100. For migraine, it was 62 out of 100; for migraine and TTH, 59.
For each type of headache, an increase in stress was associated with an increase in the number of headaches per month, the researchers found.
This indicates that Complementary Therapies, know for reducing stress levels, could be beneficial for all types of chronic headache sufferes. Cranial Osteopathy, Massage and Aromatherapy, all available at the clinic, could all be worth considering if you are suffering.