Clinical correlates of insomnia in patients with persistent post-traumatic headache compared with migraine

Soo Kyoung Kim, Catherine D. Chong, Gina Dumkrieger, Katherine Ross, Visar Berisha, Todd J. Schwedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Close associations between insomnia with other clinical factors have been identified in migraine, but there have been few studies investigating associations between insomnia and clinical factors in patients with persistent post-traumatic headache (PPTH). The study objective was to contrast the severity of insomnia symptoms in PPTH, migraine, and healthy controls, and to identify factors associated with insomnia in patients with PPTH vs. migraine. Methods: In this cross-sectional cohort study, 57 individuals with PPTH attributed to mild traumatic brain injury, 39 with migraine, and 39 healthy controls were included. Participants completed a detailed headache characteristics questionnaire, the Migraine Disability Assessment Scale (MIDAS), Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), Hyperacusis Questionnaire (HQ), Allodynia Symptom Checklist, Photosensitivity Assessment Questionnaire, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) checklist, Ray Auditory Verbal Learning Test, and the Trail Making Test A and B to assess headache characteristics, disability, insomnia symptoms, sensory hypersensitivities, and neuropsychological factors. Fisher's test and one-way ANOVA or Tukey's Honest Significant Difference were used to assess group differences of categorical and continuous data. Stepwise linear regression analyses were conducted to identify clinical variables associated with insomnia symptoms. Results: Those with PPTH had significantly higher ISI scores (16.7 ± 6.6) compared to migraine patients (11.3 ± 6.4) and healthy controls (4.1 ± 4.8) (p < 0.001). For those with PPTH, insomnia severity was most strongly correlated with the BDI (Spearman's rho (ρ) = 0.634, p < 0.01), followed by Trait Anxiety (ρ = 0.522, p < 0.01), PTSD (ρ = 0.505, p < 0.01), HQ (ρ = 0.469, p < 0.01), State Anxiety (ρ = 0.437, p < 0.01), and MIDAS scores (ρ = 0.364, p < 0.01). According to linear regression models, BDI, headache intensity, and hyperacusis scores were significantly positively associated with insomnia severity in those with PPTH, while only delayed memory recall was negatively associated with insomnia severity in those with migraine. Conclusions: Insomnia symptoms were more severe in those with PPTH compared to migraine and healthy control cohorts. Depression, headache intensity, and hyperacusis were associated with insomnia in individuals with PPTH. Future studies should determine the bidirectional impact of treating insomnia and its associated symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number33
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 15 2020


  • Insomnia
  • Migraine
  • Posttraumatic headache
  • Sleep
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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