Methodological Guidelines for Clinical Headache Research

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Traditional conceptualizations of headache have been called into question by recent research studies which have suggested that physiological characteristics of headache types are more similar than once thought. Besides this increase in research regarding the physiology of head pain, there has been a parallel increase in treatment investigations. This parallel focus has, in part, recognized that adequate knowledge of the physiological processes mediating pain may lead to the best choice of treatments. However, many methodological problems have characterized past physiological assessment research on head pain, leading to continued problems in interpreting headache mechanisms. Generally, these methodological problems may be considered from classes involving subject, procedural and data assessment/quantification variables. In this paper, an overview of specific methodological problems with the polygraph assessment of headache physiology is presented. These previous methodological problems are then utilized in the development of methodological guidelines for conducting clinical headache research.

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Pain, v. 15, issues 1-4, p. 1-18