Timothy T. Houle, PhD
Several decades of research have identified factors that precipitate headache activity. Information about these headache precipitants has influenced clinical practice and popular perception. However, our gross understanding of headache precipitants is almost entirely based on cross-sectional research using broad between-group comparisons. The application of this information to the treatment of the individual headache sufferer is limited to broad generalities (e.g., “to avoid a headache, get enough sleep”).
Many patients live in fear of the unpredictability of headache pain. In response, they often restrict their daily lives to prepare for the eventuality of the next attack that may leave them bedridden and temporarily disabled. They may even engage in medication-use strategies that inadvertently worsen their headaches. The goal of my research program is to make headache attacks more predictable by increasing knowledge of precipitants.
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