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Seizure. 1999 Oct;8(7):424-6.

Headaches and other pain symptoms among patients with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures.

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Department of Neurology and the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, NY 11040, USA.


Studies of patients with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (NES) typically focus upon the phenomenology and outcome of NES episodes. Little is known, however, about the frequency and nature of other somatic symptoms such as pain, in this population. To assess the frequency, location and severity of symptoms of pain among NES patients, we administered structured interviews to 56 patients, 6 or more months following the diagnosis of psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (NES). Patients were recruited from a tertiary hospital-based epilepsy monitoring unit. Seventy-seven percent of patients suffered from moderate to severe pain, most commonly headache (61%), while neck pain and backache were also common. Twenty-six of 27 patients with persistent NES vs. 17 of 29 patients whose NES resolved experienced moderate to severe pain (P < 0.001). Pain is an under-recognized problem that occurs frequently and with significant severity among NES patients. Pain symptoms are more common among patients with persistent NES than those whose NES resolve.

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