Approximately half of patients with migraine have kinesiophobia, and the condition is associated with greater severity, not presence of cutaneous allodynia, according to a study published in Pain Medicine.

The study included participants diagnosed with migraine by a neurologist specializing in headache (n=89). Participants completed the Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia (TSK) and the 12-item Allodynia Symptom Checklist and were asked to answer questions about the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraine and the number of years they had experienced migraine.

Of 89 participants, 47 (53%) had kinesiophobia (defined as a score ≥37 on the TSK). Having kinesiophobia was associated with the classification of severe cutaneous allodynia (P =.02) but not with its presence (P =.07). 

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Kinesiophobia and clinical migraine features were not found to be associated (P >.05). TSK score, Allodynia Symptom Checklist-12 score, and clinical migraine features were not found to be associated with the presence of kinesiophobia (P >.05 for all). 

Participants with migraine reported not believing that physical activity could help control or relieve their pain. Participants with kinesiophobia thought that physical activity could be harmful. 

As studies support the notion that physical activity may benefit individuals with migraine, these results highlight the need for patient education on this topic.

“Our study is the first showing that the presence of kinesiophobia is associated with worse levels of cutaneous allodynia, which may suggest that it may also act as an aggravating factor to central sensitization in patients with migraine,” the researchers wrote.

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Benatto MT, Bevilaqua-Grossi D, Carvalho GF, et al. Kinesiophobia is associated with migraine [published online November 20, 2018]. Pain Med. doi: 10.1093/pm/pny206

This article originally appeared on Clinical Pain Advisor