Levels of migraine-related disability, physical functioning, and tenderness, but not catastrophizing, may allow to distinguish between chronic and episodic migraine in children and adolescents, according to a study published in Frontiers in Neurology.

A total of 190 consecutive headache patients (average age, 12.23) with chronic or episodic migraine with or without aura who visited a tertiary headache center were enrolled in the study. Participants were asked to complete the following questionnaires: the child version of the Pain Catastrophizing Scale, the Psychiatric Self-Administration Scales for Youths and Adolescents, the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory, the Pediatric Migraine Disability Assessment, and the Allodynia questionnaire. Their pericranial tenderness was also assessed.

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Total pain catastrophizing scores were comparable in participants with chronic and episodic migraine (P =.70). Total Pain Catastrophizing scores were not found to be associated with migraine-related disability, but were found to correlate with general low quality of life for psychological and physical functioning estimated by children, pericranial tenderness, anxiety, and depression.

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Discriminant variables between chronic and episodic migraine included the disability scale for migraine, general quality of life for physical functioning estimated by parents, and the Total Tenderness Score.

Study limitations include the inability to generalize findings to a wider population.

“Pain catastrophizing seems a mental characteristic of a clinical phenotype including psychopathological traits and enhanced expression of central sensitization symptoms…In childhood age, it would not be a feature of chronic migraine, but the possibility that it could predict this evolution is consistent and worthy of further prospective evaluation,” noted the study authors.


Sciruicchio V, Simeone M, et al. Pain catastrophizing in childhood migraine: An observational study in a tertiary headache center [published online February 15, 2019]. Front Neurol. doi:10.3389/fneur.2019.00114

This article originally appeared on Clinical Pain Advisor