We performed the Queckenstedt's (Q)-test (compression over bilateral internal jugular veins) and a sham test on 33 patients with migraine attacks (coded as 1.1 based on headache classification proposed by International Headache Society (IHS)), 15 with migrainous attacks (IHS code 1.7), and 15 with tension-type headache (IHS code 2.1) in both supine and sitting positions. 'Migrainous headache' (code 1.7) was defined if the headache characteristics fulfilled all but one criteria for 'migraine without aura'. Migraine sufferers reported a marked increase in headache intensity after a 30-second Q-test in both supine and sitting positions. Aggravation was greater in the supine position. The intensity increase was not demonstrated in the sham test, or in patients with migrainous attacks or tension-type headaches after the Q-test. Patients with acute migraine thus appear more sensitive to increased cerebral venous pressure or intracranial pressure. The discrepancy of intensity changes between supine and sitting positions may reflect different amount of venous return through the internal jugular veins.
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