Prevalence of headache in Europe: a review of the Eurolight project. J Headache Pain

Department of Neuroscience, Norwegian National Headache Centre, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7006 Trondheim, Norway.
The Journal of Headache and Pain (Impact Factor: 2.8). 08/2010; 11(4):289-99. DOI: 10.1007/s10194-010-0217-0
Source: PubMed


The main aim of the present study was to do an update on studies on headache epidemiology as a preparation for the multinational European study on the prevalence and burden of headache and investigate the impact of different methodological issues on the results. The study was based on a previous study, and a systematic literature search was performed to identify the newest studies. More than 50% of adults indicate that they suffer from headache in general during the last year or less, but when asked specifically about tension-type headache, the prevalence was 60%. Migraine occurs in 15%, chronic headache in about 4% and possible medication overuse headache in 1-2%. Cluster headache has a lifetime prevalence of 0.2-0.3%. Most headaches are more prevalent in women, and somewhat less prevalent in children and youth. Some studies indicate that the headache prevalence is increasing during the last decades in Europe. As to methodological issues, lifetime prevalences are in general higher than 1-year prevalences, but the exact time frame of headache (1 year, 6 or 3 months, or no time frame stated) seems to be of less importance. Studies using personal interviews seem to give somewhat higher prevalences than those using questionnaires.

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Available from: Lars J Stovner
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    • "Almost 50% of men have suffered some kind of headache in the last year (Stovner and Andree, 2010). Unlike what is seen in migraine, men are only slightly less affected than women by tension-type headache (TTH), the most common form of headache, which affects 80% of the population in Europe (13% having a frequent or chronic form). "

    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Functional neurology
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    • "We are less concerned about this, however, since the average number of headache episodes in the last three months was only 8.7, suggesting that mild episodic secondary headache is unlikely to account for bias and only 14% of the study population reported having mild headache. Medication overuse headache (MoH) was not assessed in the questionnaire, but according to the review of Stovner and Andree only 1-2% of the European population suffer from MoH [25]. In our baseline data, only 1.28% of the adolescents report to have at least 15 headache attacks per month for the last 3 months and take analgesics for every or nearly every headache attack, therefore few of our headache cases are likely to be related to MoH. "
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    ABSTRACT: Stable headache diagnosis classification is a prerequisite for identification of headache type specific risk factors. Does the stability of a headache diagnosis over time vary between migraine and tension-type headache (TTH)? Are there differences in diagnosis stability between a probable and a definite headache diagnosis? In a sample of 783 students (ages 12 to 18 years) participating in a headache intervention study in greater Munich, the stability of headache classification according to the International Classification of Headache Disorder - third edition (beta version) (ICHD-3 beta) after a follow-up of 7 months was examined. Differences in stability of probable or definite migraine and probable or definite TTH were assessed. The stability of the headache diagnosis was assessed as predictive value of headache diagnosis with regard to confirmation of the headache type using the same diagnostic instrument 7 months later. Predictive values with 95% confidence intervals (CI) are reported. Of students with initial migraine, a diagnosis of migraine was confirmed in 65.71% of students after 7 months (95%-CI [59.40-71.64]). A clear distinction between probable (44.71%, 95%-CI [33.91-53.89]) and confirmed diagnosis (76.88% 95%-CI [69.56-83.17]) of migraine was observed. For TTH the predictive value was 62.66% (95%-CI [57.07-68.01]) overall with a lower stability for probable (46.10%, 95%-CI [37.68-54.69]) compared to the confirmed diagnosis (69.71%, 95%-CI [23.58-37.67]). While confirmed migraine and confirmed TTH diagnoses seem stable over time, stability of a probable diagnosis for either headache type was lower. Trial registration The trial was registered at the German Clinical Trial Register with the ID DRKS00003308.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · The Journal of Headache and Pain
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    • "As far as Europe is concerned, good data exist on migraine prevalence derived from a number of western countries [17,18]. Data are less good for TTH and MOH. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background European data, at least from Western Europe, are relatively good on migraine prevalence but less sound for tension-type headache (TTH) and medication-overuse headache (MOH). Evidence on impact of headache disorders is very limited. Eurolight was a data-gathering exercise primarily to inform health policy in the European Union (EU). This manuscript reports personal impact. Methods The study was cross-sectional with modified cluster sampling. Surveys were conducted by structured questionnaire, including diagnostic questions based on ICHD-II and various measures of impact, and are reported from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain and United Kingdom. Different methods of sampling were used in each. The full methodology is described elsewhere. Results Questionnaires were analysed from 8,271 participants (58% female, mean age 43.4 y). Participation-rates, where calculable, varied from 10.6% to 58.8%. Moderate interest-bias was detected. Unadjusted lifetime prevalence of any headache was 91.3%. Gender-adjusted 1-year prevalences were: any headache 78.6%; migraine 35.3%; TTH 38.2%, headache on ≥15 d/mo 7.2%; probable MOH 3.1%. Personal impact was high, and included ictal symptom burden, interictal burden, cumulative burden and impact on others (partners and children). There was a general gradient of probable MOH > migraine > TTH, and most measures indicated higher impact among females. Lost useful time was substantial: 17.7% of males and 28.0% of females with migraine lost >10% of days; 44.7% of males and 53.7% of females with probable MOH lost >20%. Conclusions The common headache disorders have very high personal impact in the EU, with important implications for health policy.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · The Journal of Headache and Pain
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