Daily Or Near-Daily Headache Is Surprisingly Common In The General Population

June 26, 1998

More than four percent of the U.S. population suffers from "frequent headaches," defined as headaches that occur at least 180 days a year, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and presented today at the 40th annual scientific meeting of the American Association for the Study of Headache (AASH), San Francisco. This survey also found that frequent headaches were nearly twice as common among women as men. Caucasians had headaches more often than African Americans, and those with less than a high-school education suffered from headaches more than those with higher levels of education.

Lead author Ann I. Scher, MS, a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, said, "Although frequent or daily headache is surprisingly common, relatively little is known about the scope and distribution of the public health problem posed by this type of headache."

The survey involved 13,343 demographically diverse individuals aged 18 to 65 years who were selected by computerized random-digit dialing and interviewed about the symptoms, duration, and occurrence of their headaches. All those who reported having 180 or more non-migraine headaches per year were classified as having "frequent headache" and were interviewed at length.

Ms. Scher and principal investigator Walter Stewart, PhD, MPH, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, subdivided frequent headaches into three types: frequent headache with migrainous features (FH/M), chronic tension-type headache (CTTH), and unclassified frequent headache (FH/O).

The data revealed that 4.1 percent of the population (5 percent of women and 2.8 percent of men) suffered from frequent headache. Frequent headache was 33 percent more common among Caucasians (4.4 percent) than African Americans (3.3 percent); and, among both genders, frequent headaches were most common among those with less than a high school education.

The most common form of frequent headache in the study was chronic tension-type headache (CTTH), prevalent in 2.2 percent of the participants and accounting for 53 percent of the frequent headaches suffered.

In contrast to migraine, in which the prevalence generally peaks in the 40s and declines thereafter, the prevalence of frequent headache did not show any clear associations with age.

Approximately seven million adults in the United States suffer from headaches at least every other day, accounting for millions of work days missed or reduced efficiency while at work. Studies in clinics have identified potential risk factors for frequent headaches, including overuse of painkillers, depression, insomnia, or stressful or traumatic life events. In clinics, most of those with frequent headache have what is called "transformed migraine headaches," often associated with analgesic overuse. These potential risk factors for frequent headaches, however, have not been tested in population-based samples and may not be associated with frequent headache in the general population.

PCI Contact: Viktoria Mitlyng or Jaimie Pehling, 312-558-1770

AASH Newsroom (June 26-28): 415-537-6397
-end-


Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Related Public Health Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 and the decolonization of Indigenous public health
Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge have helped protect Indigenous communities in Canada during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and these principles should be incorporated into public health in future, argue the authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200852.

Public health consequences of policing homelessness
In a new study examining homelessness, researchers find that policy such a lifestyle has massive public health implications, making sleeping on the street even MORE unhealthy.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic likely to cause long-term health problems, Yale School of Public Health finds
The coronavirus pandemic's life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for many people--particularly those from vulnerable populations--a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.

BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.

Read More: Public Health News and Public Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.