Mindfulness training and chronic tension-type headache

Stuart Cathcart, Vanessa Barone, Maarten Immink, Michael Proeve

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter we examine effects of mindfulness training on generalized hyperalgesia in chronic tension-type headache (CTH) sufferers. Method: Forty-three CTH sufferers participated in a randomized wait-list controlled trial of a mindfulness intervention for headache. Pressure and thermal (cold) pain detection thresholds, cold pain rating and tolerance, pericranial muscle tenderness, and conditioned pain modulation were assessed before and after intervention. Pain sensitivity was also measured in a sample of 56 healthy headache-free subjects and compared with the headache group. Results: Headache sufferers had increased pain sensitivity across multiple modalities and anatomical locations indicating generalized hyperalgesia. Repeated measures analysis of variance of the treatment vs wait-list data revealed no group or group x time effects for any pain sensitivity measure, although there were time effects indicating a reduction in muscle tenderness and cold pain sensitivity in treatment and wait-list control groups. Conclusions: Mindfulness training compared to a wait-list control condition does not reduce generalized hyperalgesia in CTH sufferers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDisability and Chronic Disease
EditorsJoav Merrick, Shoshana Aspler, Mohammed Morad
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781629483078
ISBN (Print)9781629482880
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameDisability Studies
PublisherNova Science Publishers


  • mindfulness training
  • generalized hyperalgesia
  • chronic tension-type headache (CTH)
  • mindfulness intervention for headache
  • pain sensitivity
  • headache sufferers
  • Pressure and thermal (cold) pain detection thresholds
  • cold pain rating and tolerance
  • pericranial muscle tenderness
  • conditioned pain modulation


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