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Pain. 1983 Aug;16(4):361-73.

The Headache Scale: a new approach to the assessment of headache pain based on pain descriptions.


A Headache Scale was developed to provide an assessment of both the quality and intensity of headache pain. Responses of 150 headache-prone subjects (49 migraine, 101 tension headache), were examined. Using a cluster analysis the adjectives were grouped into 7 clusters including 5 sensory and 2 affective subgroups. Headache was most commonly described in terms of clusters which reflected discomfort and aching pain sensations. Migraine and tension sufferers did not differ markedly in pain quality but intensity of pain differentiated these groups. The results did not support the traditional typology of headache, i.e., migraine/tension. An alternative method of classifying headache cases in terms of their psychological experiences rather than headache symptoms was put forward and implications for future research and treatment were discussed.

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