Open Access

Patients’ postures during migraine attacks

The Journal of Headache and PainOfficial Journal of the Italian Society for the Study of Headaches4:36

DOI: 10.1007/s10194-003-0036-7

Received: 12 November 2002

Accepted: 16 April 2003

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine postures adopted by patients during migraine attack. A total of 199 migraine patients were questioned about their postures during the migraine attack. Of these, 92 patients did not choose a specific lying position, 22 could not lie down during the attack because of the increase in pain, while 6 avoided lying due to scalp tenderness. During the attack, 19 patients preferred holding their heads up (compared to painless period) with a few pillows and 41 applied pressure on the aching side; 15 lay with their necks extended and 15 lay face downward. Various combinations of these postures were also reported. Pain may arise from extracranial muscles as well as vessels during a migraine attack. The posture chosen during attack is a reflection of vascular and muscle pains that provoke symptoms. The postures that patients chose were aimed to lessen the severity of symptoms of their migraine attacks. Patients know the position they adopt and do not need to be told by a doctor, but they come to consultations to be understood, to learn that others behave in the same way, and in some, to obtain reasons for their posture. The existence of a specific lying posture can be an advantage for the physician in terms of approaching the patient and selecting an appropriate therapy.

Keywords

Migraine Attack Posture