The objective of this study is to examine the stress and mood changes of Japanese subjects over the 1–3 days before a migraine headache.
The study participants were 16 patients with migraines who consented to participate in this study. Each subject kept a headache diary four times a day for two weeks. They evaluated the number of stressful events, daily hassles, domestic and non-domestic stress, anxiety, depressive tendency and irritability by visual analog scales. The days were classified into migraine days, pre-migraine days, buffer days and control days based on the intensity of the headaches and accompanying symptoms, and a comparative study was conducted for each factor on the migraine days, pre-migraine days and control days.
The stressful event value of pre-migraine days showed no significant difference compared to other days. The daily hassle value of pre-migraine days was the highest and was significantly higher than that of buffer days. In non-domestic stress, values on migraine days were significantly higher than on other days, and there was no significant difference between pre-migraine days and buffer days or between pre-migraine days and control days. There was no significant difference in the values of domestic stress between the categories. In non-domestic stress, values on migraine days were significantly higher than other days, and there was no significant difference between pre-migraine days and buffer days or between pre-migraine days and control days.
There was little difference in sleep quality on migraine and pre-migraine days, but other psychological factors were higher on migraine days than on pre-migraine days.
Psychosocial stress preceding the onset of migraines by several days was suggested to play an important role in the occurrence of migraines. However, stress 2–3 days before a migraine attack was not so high as it has been reported to be in the United States and Europe. There was no significant difference in the values of psychological factors between pre-migraine days and other days.