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1.  Holding on to the indispensable medication –A grounded theory on medication use from the perspective of persons with medication overuse headache 
Medication overuse headache (MOH) is a chronic headache disorder, caused by overuse of acute medication. To date, it remains unclear why some people overuse these medications. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore how individuals with MOH use medications and other strategies to manage headaches in their daily lives, and their thoughts about their own use of acute medication. Our intention was to develop a theoretical model about the development of MOH, from the perspective of those with MOH.
Data collection and analysis were conducted according to grounded theory methodology. The participants were recruited via newspaper advertisements. Fourteen persons with MOH were interviewed in individual qualitative interviews.
The basic process leading to medication overuse was holding on to the indispensable medication. The acute medication was indispensable to the participants because they perceived it as the only thing that could prevent headaches from ruining their lives. The participants perceived headaches as something that threatened to ruin their lives. As a result, they went to great lengths trying to find ways to manage it. They tried numerous strategies. However, the only strategy actually perceived as effective was the use of acute medication and they eventually became resigned to the idea that it was the only effective aid. The acute medication thus became indispensable. Their general intention was to use as little medication as possible but they found themselves compelled to medicate frequently to cope with their headaches. They did not like to think about their medication use and sometimes avoided keeping track of the amount used.
This qualitative study adds understanding to the process via which MOH develops from the perspective of those having MOH. Such knowledge may help bridge the gap between the perspectives of patients and health-care professionals.
PMCID: PMC3671143  PMID: 23697986
Headache; Medication use; Medication overuse headache; Qualitative study; Grounded theory; Patient perspective
2.  Impact of headache on sickness absence and utilisation of medical services: a Danish population study. 
STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to study the extent and type of health service utilisation, medication habits, and sickness absence due to the primary headaches. DESIGN--This was a cross sectional epidemiological survey of headache disorders in a general population. Headache was diagnosed according to a structured interview and a neurological examination using the criteria of the International Headache Society. SETTING--A random sample of 25-64 year-old individuals was drawn from the Danish National Central Person Registry. All subjects were living in the Copenhagen County. PARTICIPANTS--740 subjects participated (76% of the sample); 119 had migraine and 578 had tension type headache. MAIN RESULTS--Among subjects with migraine 56% had, at some time, consulted their general practitioner because of the migraine. The corresponding percentage among subjects with tension type headache was 16. One or more specialists had been consulted by 16% of migraine sufferers and by 4% of subjects with tension type headache. The consultation rates of chiropractors and physiotherapists were 5-8%. Hospital admissions and supplementary laboratory investigations due to headache were rare (< 3%). Half of the migraine sufferers and 83% of subjects with tension type headache in the previous year had managed with at least one type of drug in the current year. Acetylsalicylic acid preparations and paracetamol were the most commonly used analgesics. Prophylaxis of migraine was used by 7%. In the preceding year 43% of employed migraine sufferers and 12% of employed subjects with tension type headache had missed one or more days of work because of headache. Most common was 1-7 days off work. The total loss of workdays per year due to migraine in the general population was estimated at 270 days per 1000 persons. For tension type headache the corresponding figure was 820. Women were more likely to consult a practitioner than men, whereas no significant sex difference emerged as regards absenteeism from work. CONCLUSIONS--The impact of the headache disorders on work performance in the general population is substantial, and the disorders merit increased attention.
PMCID: PMC1059617  PMID: 1431724
3.  The patients’ perceptions of migraine and chronic daily headache: a qualitative study 
This study aimed to gain insight into the management of migraine and chronic daily headache (CDH) from the patients’ perspective. This article outlines the patients’ perceptions of migraine and chronic daily headache. Thirteen semi–structured interviews were carried out with patients suffering from IHS migraine. Five patients, due to their headache frequency of more than 15 headache days per month, were classed as CDH patients. The data were transcribed verbatim and analysed in accordance with the grounded theory methodology. The main themes were: headaches, impact and headaches related to health issues. The theme ‘headaches’ was sub-divided into ‘their pain and symptoms’, ‘differentiating between their headaches’ and ‘perceptions of headaches as barriers and facilitators to management’. The patients’ perceptions of migraine and CDH were sometimes conflicting and influenced the patients’ management behaviours. The qualitative methodology may help to inform doctors, other healthcare professionals and headache researchers about the patients’ perspective and possibly develop future headache research, care and education.
PMCID: PMC3451956  PMID: 16362190
Migraine; Chronic daily headache; Patient; Perceptions
4.  How do patients referred to neurologists for headache differ from those managed in primary care? 
Headache is the neurological symptom most frequently presented to GPs and referred to neurologists, but little is known about how referred patients differ from patients managed by GPs.
To describe and compare headache patients managed in primary care with those referred to neurologists.
Design of study
Prospective study.
Eighteen general practices in south-east England.
This study examined 488 eligible patients consulting GPs with primary headache over 7 weeks and 81 patients referred to neurologists over 1 year. Headache disability was measured by the Migraine Disability Assessment Score, headache impact by the Headache Impact Test, emotional distress by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and illness perception was assessed using the Illness Perception Questionnaire.
Participants were 303 patients who agreed to participate. Both groups reported severe disability and very severe impact on functioning. Referred patients consulted more frequently than those not referred in the 3 months before referral (P = 0.003). There was no significant difference between GP-managed and referred groups in mean headache disability, impact, anxiety, depression, or satisfaction with care. The referred group were more likely to link an increased number of symptoms to their headaches (P = 0.01), to have stronger emotional representations of their headaches (P = 0.006), to worry more (P = 0.001), and were made anxious by their headache symptoms (P = 0.044).
Patients who consult for headache experience severe disability and impact, and up to a third report anxiety and/or depression. Referral is not related to clinical severity of headaches, but is associated with higher consultation frequency and patients' anxiety and concern about their headache symptoms.
PMCID: PMC2047014  PMID: 17504590
headache; migraine disorders; neurology; primary health care; referral and consultation
5.  Characteristics of Headache at Altitude among Trekkers; A comparison between Acute Mountain Sickness and Non-Acute Mountain Sickness Headache 
Asian Journal of Sports Medicine  2012;3(2):126-130.
Headache at altitudes has had an incidence of 25-62% through many related studies. Many reasons are identified concerning headache at altitudes such as acute mountain sickness (AMS), sinus headache, migraine, tension type headache, and frontal tension headache. This study tried to compare different types of headache among trekkers on Mount Damavand, a 5671m mountain, Iran, to find their incidence and related symptoms and signs.
Through a cross-sectional study, we evaluated headache incidence and its correlation to AMS among people who climbed Mount Damavand. Lake Louise Score, a self-report questionnaire, was applied to make AMS diagnosis through three separate stages of trekking programs. Chi-square test was employed as the main mean of analysis.
Totally, 459 between 13-71 year olds participated in the study among which females were 148 (32.1%) and males 311 (67.8%). Headache was found in 398 (86.7%) among whom 279 (70%) were proved as AMS. Investigating the types of headache in the cases of AMS showed 64.5% to be of steady, 31% throbbing and 4.5% stabbing characters which had significant differences with a P value = 0.003. The majority of headaches were stated as frontal (38.9%) and the least prevalence belonged to the parietal area (4.4%), while global headache was reported in 27%.
This study specifies the exact location of headaches at altitude in cases of AMS and non-AMS headaches. Many cases of high altitude non-AMS headache are resulted by tension and light reflection at altitude.
PMCID: PMC3426732  PMID: 22942999
High Altitude; Headache; Mountain Sickness; Incidence; AMS
6.  Application of ICHD-II Criteria in a Headache Clinic of China 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e50898.
China has the huge map and the largest population in the world. Previous studies on the prevalence and classification of headaches were conducted based on the general population, however, similar studies among the Chinese outpatient population are scarce. This study aimed to analyze the characteristics of 1843 headache patients enrolled in a North China headache clinic of the General Hospital for Chinese People's Liberation Army from October 2011 to May 2012, with the International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd Edition (ICHD-II).
Methods and Results
Personal interviews were carried out and a detailed questionnaire was used to collect medical records including age, sex and headache characteristics. Patients came from 28 regions of China with the median age of 40.9 (9–80) years and the female/male ratio of 1.67/1. The primary headaches (78.4%) were classified as the following: migraine (39.1%), tension-type headache (32.5%), trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias (5.3%) and other primary headache (1.5%). Among the rest patients, 12.9% were secondary headaches, 5.9% were cranial neuralgias and 2.5% were unspecified or not elsewhere classified. Fourteen point nine percent (275/1843) were given an additional diagnosis of chronic daily headache, including medication-overuse headache (MOH, 49.5%), chronic tension-type headache (CTTH, 32.7%) and chronic migraine (CM, 13.5%). The visual analogue scale (VAS) score of TTH with MOH was significantly higher than that of CTTH (6.8±2.0 vs 5.6±2.0, P<0.001). The similar result was also observed in VAS score between migraine with MOH and CM (8.0±1.5 vs 7.0±1.5, P = 0.004). The peak age at onset of TTH for male and female were both in the 3rd decade of life. However, the age distribution at onset of migraine shows an obvious sex difference, i.e. the 2nd decade for females and the 1st decade for males.
This study revealed the characteristics of the headache clinic outpatients in a tertiary hospital of North China that migraine is the most common diagnosis. Furthermore, most headaches in this patient population can be classified using ICHD-II criteria.
PMCID: PMC3519829  PMID: 23239993
7.  Associations Between Lipid Levels and Migraine: Cross-sectional Analysis in the EVA Study 
Cephalalgia  2011;31(14):1459-1465.
Migraine with aura has been associated with increased prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, including elevated levels of some vascular biomarkers. However, little research has been done on this association among the elderly. We examined the associations of lipid levels with headache and migraine in a cohort of elderly individuals.
Cross-sectional study among 1155 participants enrolled in the Epidemiology of Vascular Aging Study with available information on headache and blood biomarkers. We used multinomial logistic regression to evaluate the association between biomarker tertiles and headache categories.
925 people had no severe headache, 64 people had non-migraine headache, and 166 people had migraine of whom 23 had aura. Compared to participants without headache, we observed strong associations between increasing tertiles of total cholesterol and migraine with aura. The OR (95% CI) was 4.67 (0.99–21.97) for the 2nd tertile and 5.97 (1.29–27.61) for the 3rd tertile. We also found strong associations between triglycerides and migraine with aura (OR for 3rd tertile:4.42 (1.32–14.77).) We did not see significant associations between increased biomarkers levels and any other headache group.
Elevated levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides are associated with migraine with aura but not other headache forms in the elderly.
PMCID: PMC3303216  PMID: 21926156
migraine; cholesterol; epidemiology
8.  Impact of primary headaches on subjective sleep parameters among adolescents 
Headache patients commonly report sleep disruption and sleep disorders. Available literature suggests that the sleep pattern of headache sufferers is different from the control group. Patients in these studies were recruited from headache clinics; they did not include tension type headache.
The aim of this study is to find out whether primary headaches affect sleep patterns.
Settings and Design:
Community based cross sectional study
Materials and Methods:
This study was conducted in three high schools. Children in the 12-19 age group were allowed to participate. They were given a questionnaire in the presence of at least one of the authors, who assisted them in filling it. They were asked to provide responses based on most severe recurrent headache that they had experienced rather than the more frequent ones. The questionnaire included questions regarding demographic data and the characteristics of headache according to International Classification of Headache Disorders-2 criteria. Part B of the questionnaire contained questions regarding sleep habits. The children were asked to provide data regarding sleep habits on a normal school day. Diagnosis was based upon the information contained in the questionnaire. A telephonic interview was also done, where the information provided was found inadequate.
Statistical Analysis Used:
Analysis was done with the help of SPSS v. 11.0., descriptive analysis, Chi square, and one way ANOVA with post hoc analysis. Kruskall-Wallis tests were run.
A total of 1862 subjects were included in the study. Migraineurs and tension type headache sufferers comprised 35.7% and 13.4% of the group respectively. Migraineurs had the highest prevalence of nocturnal awakenings (P < 0.001), abnormal movements (P=0.001) and breathing problems during sleep (P < 0.001). Approximately half the migraineurs felt sleepy during the day (P< 0.001) and spent around 1.17 hours in sleep during the day (P = 0.007). Similarly, values for frequency of nocturnal awakenings per week (P < 0.001), wake time after sleep onset and offset (P < 0.001 and 0.002 respectively) were the maximum in migraineurs. Only 32.8% migraineurs reported refreshing sleep (P< 0.001). Post hoc analysis revealed that migraineurs were different from the other two groups on most of the parameters.
Sleep disruption is more common in migraineurs than those in the tension type headache sufferers and the control group.
PMCID: PMC2771978  PMID: 19893663
Migraine; sleep; sleep-disruption; tension type headache
9.  Patient pressure for referral for headache: a qualitative study of GPs'referral behaviour 
Headache accounts for up to a third of new specialist neurology appointments, although brain lesions are extremely rare and there is little difference in clinical severity of referred patients and those managed in primary care. This study examines influences on GPs' referral for headache in the absence of clinical indicators.
Design of study
Qualitative interview study.
Eighteen urban and suburban general practices in the South Thames area, London.
Purposive sample comprising GPs with varying numbers of referrals for headache over a 12-month period. Semi-structured interviews with 20 GPs were audio taped. Transcripts were analysed thematically using a framework approach.
All GPs reported observing patient anxiety and experiencing pressure for referral. Readiness to refer in response to pressure was influenced by characteristics of the consultation, including frequent attendance, communication problems and time constraints. GPs' accounts showed variations in individual's willingness or ‘resistance’ to refer, reflecting differences in clinical confidence in identifying risks of brain tumour, personal tolerance of uncertainty, views of patients' ‘right’ to referral and perceptions of the therapeutic value of referral. A further source of variation was the local availability of services, including GPs with a specialist interest and charitably-funded clinics.
Referral for headache is often the outcome of patient pressure interacting with GP characteristics, organisational factors and service availability. Reducing specialist neurological referrals requires further training and support for some GPs in the diagnosis and management of headache. To reduce clinical uncertainty, good clinical prediction rules for headache and alternative referral pathways are required.
PMCID: PMC2032697  PMID: 17244421
doctor–patient relationship; headache; patient anxiety; referral; qualitative
10.  Psychiatric comorbidity in pediatric chronic daily headache 
The objectives of this study were to assess comorbid psychiatric diagnoses in youth with chronic daily headache (CDH) and to examine relationships between psychiatric status and CDH symptom severity, as well as headache-related disability.
Standardized psychiatric interviews (Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia, KSADS) were conducted with 169 youth ages 10–17 diagnosed with CDH. Participants provided prospective reports of headache frequency with a daily headache diary and completed measures of symptom severity, headache-related disability (PedMIDAS) and quality of life (PedsQL).
Results showed that 29.6% of CDH patients met criteria for at least one current psychiatric diagnosis, and 34.9% met criteria for at least one lifetime psychiatric diagnosis. No significant relationship between psychiatric status and headache frequency, duration, or severity was found. However, children with at least one lifetime psychiatric diagnosis had greater functional disability and poorer quality of life than those without a psychiatric diagnosis.
Contrary to research in adults with chronic headaches, most youth with CDH did not appear to be at an elevated risk for comorbid psychiatric diagnosis. However, patients with a comorbid psychiatric diagnosis were found to have higher levels of headache-related disability and poorer quality of life. Implications for treatment are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3692295  PMID: 22990686
Chronic daily headache; pediatric; psychiatric comorbidity; emotional adjustment; headache-related disability; quality of life
11.  Clinical features of headache associated with mobile phone use: a cross-sectional study in university students 
BMC Neurology  2011;11:115.
Headache has been reported to be associated with mobile phone (MP) use in some individuals. The causal relationship between headache associated with MP use (HAMP) and MP use is currently undetermined. Identifying the clinical features of HAMP may help in clarifying the pathophysiology of HAMP and in managing symptoms of individuals with HAMP. The aim of the present study is to describe the clinical features of HAMP.
A 14-item questionnaire investigating MP use and headache was administered to 247 medical students at Hallym University, Korea. Individual telephone interviews were subsequently conducted with those participants who reported HAMP more than 10 times during the last 1 year on the clinical features of HAMP. We defined HAMP as a headache attack during MP use or within 1 hour after MP use.
In total, 214 (86.6%) students completed and returned the questionnaire. Forty (18.9%) students experienced HAMP more than 10 times during the last 1 year in the questionnaire survey. In subsequent telephone interviews, 37 (97.4%) interviewed participants reported that HAMP was triggered by prolonged MP use. HAMP was usually dull or pressing in quality (30 of 38, 79.0%), localised ipsilateral to the side of MP use (32 of 38, 84.2%), and associated with a burning sensation (24 of 38, 63.2%).
We found that HAMP usually showed stereotyped clinical features including mild intensity, a dull or pressing quality, localisation ipsilateral to the side of MP use, provocation by prolonged MP use and often accompanied by a burning sensation.
PMCID: PMC3193165  PMID: 21943309
12.  Course of adolescent headache: 4-year annual face-to-face follow-up study 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2010;11(4):327-334.
The objective of this study is to investigate the course of the diagnosis and characteristics of headache in 12- to 17-year-old adolescents during a follow-up period of 4 years. Headache prevalence and characteristics, and even the type of headache show important changes during adolescence. The course of adolescent headache might reveal important insight into the pathophysiology of headache. Subjects who received a single headache diagnosis were invited to participate in a follow-up study consisting of annual face-to-face evaluation of the subjects for 4 years. Subjects who had only one type of headache and who agreed to participate were included in the study. Each subject had four annual semi-structured interviews with a neurology resident. The International Classification of Headache Disorders second edition was used for case definitions. A total of 87 subjects completed the study: 64 girls (73.56%) and 23 boys (26.44%) (p = 0.016). The headache type included migraine in 50 adolescents (57.47%), tension type headache in 24 (27.59%), secondary headache in 5 (5.7%), and non-classifiable headache in 8 (9.2%). Headache has not remitted in any of the subjects. Headache diagnosis has changed in eighteen (20.69%) subjects at least once during the follow-up period. There was transformation of headache type in 4 of 50 with migraine (8%), 10 of 24 with tension-type headache (TTH) (41.7%), and 4 of 13 with other headaches (30.8%). In conclusion, transition of headache types from one type to another (more than once in some adolescents) and variability of diagnosis throughout the years strongly support the continuum theory of headaches.
PMCID: PMC3476353  PMID: 20526648
Adolescent; Headache; Migraine; Tension-type headache; Course; Transformation
13.  The prognosis of cyclical vomiting syndrome 
AIMS—The medium term prognosis of cyclical vomiting syndrome (CVS) was studied to determine the proportion of affected individuals who had gone on to develop headaches fulfilling the International Headache Society criteria for migraine.
METHODS—Twenty six (76%) of 34 CVS sufferers identified from the authors' clinical records were traced, and all agreed to participate. Each child was matched to a control, and telephone interviews were conducted using a standardised questionnaire.
RESULTS—Thirteen (50%) of the subjects had continuing CVS and/or migraine headaches while the remainder were currently asymptomatic. The prevalence of past or present migraine headaches in subjects (46%) was significantly higher than in the control population (12%).
CONCLUSION—Results support the concept that CVS is closely related to migraine.

PMCID: PMC1718619  PMID: 11124785
14.  Children who suffer from headaches--a narrative of insecurity in school and family. 
BACKGROUND: Headaches are common among schoolchildren, who seem to be afflicted increasingly. AIM: To analyse children's descriptions of their headaches and their thoughts about them, it being assumed that children have insight into the conditions that affect their health. DESIGN OF STUDY: Interview study. SETTING: Two state schools in the city of Malmö, Sweden. METHOD: Fourteen children aged between ten and 12 years, who had gone to the school nurse more than once during the previous two-month period complaining of a headache, took part in thematically structured interviews. Qualitative analysis was performed, aimed at identifying the basic themes involved. RESULTS: The children were found to consistently associate their headaches with conditions in school, specifically with more theoretically-oriented subjects (maths or Swedish), a noisy and disorderly school environment, and insecure relations with classmates. The second theme they took up was insecurity or conflict within the family. Reports of this constituted a major part of the children's accounts of their life situation, despite their failing to link such matters with their headaches. Many of the children considered their patterns of reacting, such as feeling unable to cope or becoming angry, as contributing to their getting headaches. CONCLUSIONS: The children related their headaches consistently to everyday situations and to their relations with others. This highlights the need for broadening the consultation in terms of including personal and contextual factors.
PMCID: PMC1314546  PMID: 14694697
15.  Management of secondary chronic headache in the general population: the Akershus study of chronic headache 
The prevalence of secondary chronic headache in our population is 0.5%. Data is sparse on these types of headache and information about utilisation of health care and medication is missing. Our aim was to evaluate utility of health service services and medication use in secondary chronic headache in the general population.
An age and gender stratified cross-sectional epidemiological survey included 30,000 persons 30–44 years old. Diagnoses were interview-based. The International Classification of Headache Disorders 2nd ed. was applied along with supplementary definitions for chronic rhinosinusitis and cervicogenic headache. Secondary chronic headache exclusively due to medication overuse was excluded.
One hundred and thirteen participants had secondary chronic headache. Thirty % had never consulted a physician, 70% had consulted their GP, 35% had consulted a neurologist and 5% had been hospitalised due to their secondary chronic headache. Co-occurrence of migraine or medication overuse increased the physician contact. Acute headache medication was taken by 84% and 11% used prophylactic medication. Complementary and alternative medicine was used by 73% with the higher frequency among those with than without physician contact.
The pattern of health care utilisation indicates that there is room for improving management of secondary chronic headache.
PMCID: PMC3606965  PMID: 23565808
Secondary chronic headache; Chronic migraine; Medication-overuse headache; Health care utilisation; General population
16.  Locus of control moderates the relationship between headache pain and depression 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2008;9(5):301-308.
The aim of the current study was to triangulate qualitative and quantitative data in order to examine in greater detail the relationship between self-reported headache pain severity, depression and coping styles. Psychosocial scales, headache characteristic scales and in-depth interviews were administered to 71 adults with the diagnosis of primary headache. Regression analyses with the scales showed that greater self-reported headache pain severity was associated with higher levels of depression. A high internal locus of control weakened the relationship between the headache severity and depression variables. The qualitative data supported the relationship between pain severity and internal locus of control and, in addition, revealed that perceived efficacy of pharmacologic intervention might be a related factor. The results suggested that stronger coping skills might reduce depression among headache sufferers.
PMCID: PMC3452199  PMID: 18679769
Self-efficacy; Locus of control; Depression; Headache
17.  Classification and clinical features of headache patients: an outpatient clinic study from China 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2011;12(5):561-567.
This study aimed to analyze and classify the clinical features of headache in neurological outpatients. A cross-sectional study was conducted consecutively from March to May 2010 for headache among general neurological outpatients attending the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University. Personal interviews were carried out and a questionnaire was used to collect medical records. Diagnosis of headache was according to the International classification of headache disorders, 2nd edition (ICHD-II). Headache patients accounted for 19.5% of the general neurology clinic outpatients. A total of 843 (50.1%) patients were defined as having primary headache, 454 (27%) secondary headache, and 386 (23%) headache not otherwise specified (headache NOS). For primary headache, 401 (23.8%) had migraine, 399 (23.7%) tension-type headache (TTH), 8 (0.5%) cluster headache and 35 (2.1%) other headache types. Overall, migraine patients suffered (1) more severe headache intensity, (2) longer than 6 years of headache history and (3) more common analgesic medications use than TTH ones (p < 0.001).TTH patients had more frequent episodes of headaches than migraine patients, and typically headache frequency exceeded 15 days/month (p < 0.001); 22.8% of primary headache patients were defined as chronic daily headache. Almost 20% of outpatient visits to the general neurology department were of headache patients, predominantly primary headache of migraine and TTH. In outpatient headaches, more attention should be given to headache intensity and duration of headache history for migraine patients, while more attention to headache frequency should be given for the TTH ones.
PMCID: PMC3173628  PMID: 21744226
Outpatient; Headache; Cross-sectional study; Clinical feature; Migraine
18.  Classification and clinical features of headache patients: an outpatient clinic study from China 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2011;12(5):561-567.
This study aimed to analyze and classify the clinical features of headache in neurological outpatients. A cross-sectional study was conducted consecutively from March to May 2010 for headache among general neurological outpatients attending the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University. Personal interviews were carried out and a questionnaire was used to collect medical records. Diagnosis of headache was according to the International classification of headache disorders, 2nd edition (ICHD-II). Headache patients accounted for 19.5% of the general neurology clinic outpatients. A total of 843 (50.1%) patients were defined as having primary headache, 454 (27%) secondary headache, and 386 (23%) headache not otherwise specified (headache NOS). For primary headache, 401 (23.8%) had migraine, 399 (23.7%) tension-type headache (TTH), 8 (0.5%) cluster headache and 35 (2.1%) other headache types. Overall, migraine patients suffered (1) more severe headache intensity, (2) longer than 6 years of headache history and (3) more common analgesic medications use than TTH ones (p < 0.001).TTH patients had more frequent episodes of headaches than migraine patients, and typically headache frequency exceeded 15 days/month (p < 0.001); 22.8% of primary headache patients were defined as chronic daily headache. Almost 20% of outpatient visits to the general neurology department were of headache patients, predominantly primary headache of migraine and TTH. In outpatient headaches, more attention should be given to headache intensity and duration of headache history for migraine patients, while more attention to headache frequency should be given for the TTH ones.
PMCID: PMC3173628  PMID: 21744226
Outpatient; Headache; Cross-sectional study; Clinical feature; Migraine
19.  Treatment seeking behaviour in southern Chinese elders with chronic orofacial pain: a qualitative study 
BMC Oral Health  2014;14:8.
Chronic orofacial pain (OFP) is common in general adult populations worldwide. High levels of psychological distress and impaired coping abilities are common among Western people with chronic OFP but limited information was found in southern Chinese people. This study aimed to explore the perceptions and experiences of community dwelling elderly people with chronic OFP symptoms and their treatment seeking behaviour in Hong Kong.
An exploratory qualitative interview study was conducted. Elderly people experiencing chronic OFP symptoms were invited to take part in an individual semi-structured interview. A total of 25 semi-structured interviews were performed for 25 participants.
Pertinent issues relating to the treatment seeking behaviour emerged from the interviews, many of which were inter-related and overlapping. They were organized into three major themes: (i) Impact of chronic OFP on daily life; (ii) Personal knowledge and feeling of chronic OFP; (iii) Management of chronic OFP. The participants were found to have the intention to seek professional treatment, but there were barriers which discouraged them continuing to seek professional treatment. They also received complementary treatment for chronic OFP, such as acupuncture, massage and “chi kung”. Moreover, a wide range self-management techniques were also mentioned. On the other hand, those who did not seek professional treatment for the chronic OFP claimed that they had accepted or adapted to the pain as part of their lives.
This qualitative study observed that elderly people affected by chronic OFP symptoms in Hong Kong sought many different ways to manage their pain including traditional and complementary approaches. The role of the dentist in dealing with chronic OFP is unclear. Multiple barriers exist to accessing care for chronic OFP. The findings may be used to inform future chronic OFP management strategies in Hong Kong.
PMCID: PMC3903442  PMID: 24460663
20.  Period prevalence of self-reported headache in the general population in Germany from 1995–2005 and 2009: results from annual nationwide population-based cross-sectional surveys 
Although primary headache is the most frequent neurological disorder and there is some evidence that the prevalence rates have increased in recent years, no long-term data on the annual prevalence of headache are available for Germany. The objective of the study was therefore to obtain long-term data on the period prevalence of headache in the general population in Germany by means of population-based cross-sectional annual surveys (1995–2005 and 2009).
These surveys were conducted as face-to-face paper-and-pencil interviews from 1995 through 2004, and from 2005 onwards as computer-aided personal interviews. The reported headaches were self-diagnosed by the interviewees. Per year, approximately 640 trained interviewers interviewed between 10,898 and 12,538 German-speaking individuals aged 14 and older and living in private households in the whole of Germany (response rate: 67.4% and 73.1%, gross samples: 16,026 to 18,176 subjects). A total of more than 146,000 face-to-face interviews were analyzed.
The one-year headache prevalence remained stable over the entry period, with 58.9% (95%CI 57.7–60.1) to 62.5% (95%CI 61.3–63.7) (p=0.07). Women showed consistently higher prevalence rates than men (females: 67.3 (95%CI 65.7–68.9) to 70.7% (95%CI 69.1–72.3), males: 48.4% (95%CI 46.5–50.3) to 54.3% (95%CI 52.4–56.2)), and both sexes showed a bell-shaped age dependence with peaks in the 30–39 age group. A stable slightly higher prevalence was observed in urban versus rural areas (p<0.0001), and there was also a significant trend towards higher prevalence rates in groups with a monthly household income larger than 3,500 € (p=0.03).
The overall headache prevalence remained stable in Germany in the last 15 years.
PMCID: PMC3620427  PMID: 23565641
Headache; Prevalence; General population; Age; Gender; Epidemiology; Income; Education
21.  Prophylactic treatment of migraine; the patient's view, a qualitative study 
BMC Family Practice  2012;13:13.
Prophylactic treatment is an important but under-utilised option for the management of migraine. Patients and physicians appear to have reservations about initiating this treatment option. This paper explores the opinions, motives and expectations of patients regarding prophylactic migraine therapy.
A qualitative focus group study in general practice in the Netherlands with twenty patients recruited from urban and rural general practices. Three focus group meetings were held with 6-7 migraine patients per group (2 female and 1 male group). All participants were migraine patients according to the IHS (International Headache Society); 9 had experience with prophylactic medication. The focus group meetings were analysed using a general thematic analysis.
For patients several distinguished factors count when making a decision on prophylactic treatment. The decision of a patient on prophylactic medication is depending on experience and perspectives, grouped into five categories, namely the context of being active or passive in taking the initiative to start prophylaxis; assessing the advantages and disadvantages of prophylaxis; satisfaction with current migraine treatment; the relationship with the physician and the feeling to be heard; and previous steps taken to prevent migraine.
In addition to the functional impact of migraine, the decision to start prophylaxis is based on a complex of considerations from the patient's perspective (e.g. perceived burden of migraine, expected benefits or disadvantages, interaction with relatives, colleagues and physician). Therefore, when advising migraine patients about prophylaxis, their opinions should be taken into account. Patients need to be open to advice and information and intervention have to be offered at an appropriate moment in the course of migraine.
PMCID: PMC3359207  PMID: 22405186
Migraine; Prophylaxis; Focus groups; Primary care; Physician-patient relationship
22.  Associations between sleep disturbance and primary headaches: the third Nord-Trøndelag Health Study 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2010;11(3):197-206.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the association between sleep disturbance and headache type and frequency, in a random sample of participants in the third Nord-Trøndelag Health Survey. The headache diagnoses were set by neurologists using the ICHD-2 criteria performing a semi structured face-to-face interview. Sleep problems were measured by the two validated instruments Karolinska Sleep Questionnaire (KSQ) and Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). Among 297 participants, 77 subjects were headache-free, whereas 135 were diagnosed with tension-type headache (TTH), 51 with migraine, and 34 with other headache diagnoses. In the multivariate analyses, using logistic regression, excessive daytime sleepiness, defined as ESS ≥ 10, was three times more likely among migraineurs compared with headache-free individuals (OR = 3.3, 95% CI 1.0–10.2). Severe sleep disturbances, defined as KSQ score in the upper quartile, was five times more likely among migraineurs (OR = 5.4, 95% CI 2.0–15.5), and three times more likely for subjects with TTH (OR = 3.3, 1.4–7.3) compared with headache-free individuals. Subjects with chronic headache were 17 times more likely to have severe sleep disturbances (OR = 17.4, 95% CI 5.1–59.8), and the association was somewhat stronger for chronic migraine (OR = 38.9, 95% CI 3.1–485.3) than for chronic TTH (OR = 18.3, 95% CI 3.6–93.0). In conclusion, there was a significant association between severe sleep disturbances and primary headache disorders, most pronounced for those with chronic headache. Even though one cannot address causality in the present study design, the results indicate an increased awareness of sleep problems among patients with headache.
PMCID: PMC3451918  PMID: 20224943
Chronic headache; Migraine; Tension-type headache; Karolinska Sleep Questionnaire; Daytime sleepiness
23.  "Just like fever": a qualitative study on the impact of antiretroviral provision on the normalisation of HIV in rural Tanzania and its implications for prevention 
Once effective therapy for a previously untreatable condition is made available, a normalisation of the disease often occurs. As part of a broader initiative to monitor the implementation of the national antiretroviral therapy (ART) programme, this qualitative study investigated the impact of ART availability on perceptions of HIV in a rural ward of North Tanzania and its implications for prevention.
A mix of qualitative methods was used including semi-structured interviews with 53 ART clinic clients and service providers. Four group activities were conducted with persons living with HIV. Data were analyzed using the qualitative software package NVIVO-7.
People on ART often reported feeling increasingly comfortable with their status reflecting a certain "normalization" of the disease. This was attributed to seeing other people affected by HIV, regaining physical health, returning to productive activities and receiving emotional support from health service providers. Overcoming internalized feelings of shame facilitated disclosure of HIV status, helped to sustain treatment, and stimulated VCT uptake. However "blaming" stigma - where people living with HIV were considered responsible for acquiring a "moral disease" - persisted in the community and anticipating it was a key barrier to disclosure and VCT uptake. Attributing HIV symptoms to witchcraft seemed an effective mechanism to transfer "blame" from the family unit to an external force but could lead to treatment interruption.
As long as an HIV diagnosis continues to have moral connotations, a de-stigmatisation of HIV paralleling that occurring with diseases like cancer is unlikely to occur. Maximizing synergies between HIV treatment and prevention requires an enabling environment for HIV status disclosure, treatment continuation, and safer sexual behaviours. Local leaders should be informed and sensitised and communities mobilised to address the blame-dimension of HIV stigma.
PMCID: PMC2759900  PMID: 19740437
24.  Headaches add to the burden of epilepsy 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2007;8(4):224-230.
The objective was to investigate and classify headaches in 109 consecutive adult patients with epilepsy. A semi-structured interview was performed in those who confirmed such symptoms (65%). Interictal headaches were present in 52%; 20% had interictal migraine. Postictal headache was reported in 44%. Migraine characteristics were present in 42% of these, and most of them (74%) also suffered from interictal migraine. Six percent had preictal headache. In partial epilepsy, there was an association between headache lateralisation and interictal EEG abnormalities (p=0.02). We conclude that headache, including migraine, is very common in patients with epilepsy. Unilateral headache may represent a lateralising sign in focal epilepsy. Seizures often trigger postictal headaches with migraine features, which often are associated with interictal migraine. Migrainous headaches sometimes proceed into epileptic seizures. The comorbidity of migraine and epilepsy should receive ample clinical attention, as it may influence antiepileptic drug choice, and the headache may need specific treatment.
PMCID: PMC3451668  PMID: 17901922
Interictal headache; Postictal headache; Preictal headache; Epilepsy; Migraine; Antiepileptic drugs
25.  Relation between headache in childhood and physical and psychiatric symptoms in adulthood: national birth cohort study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2001;322(7295):1145.
To elucidate the associations between frequent headache and psychosocial factors in childhood and to determine whether such children are at an increased risk of headache, multiple physical symptoms, and psychiatric symptoms in adulthood.
Population based birth cohort study.
General population.
People participating in the national child development study, a population based birth cohort study established in 1958.
Main outcome measures
Headache, multiple physical symptoms, and psychiatric morbidity at age 33.
Headache in childhood was associated with several psychosocial factors. Prospectively, children with frequent headache had an increased risk in adulthood of headache (odds ratio 2.22, 95% confidence interval 1.62 to 3.06), multiple physical symptoms (1.75, 1.46 to 2.10), and psychiatric morbidity (1.41, 1.20 to 1.66). The outcomes of headache and multiple physical symptoms were not accounted for by psychiatric morbidity.
Children with headache are at an increased risk of recurring headache in adulthood and may complain of other physical and psychiatric symptoms. Strategies for coping with psychosocial adversity in childhood may improve the prognosis in adulthood.
What is already known on this topicCommon somatic symptoms in childhood are associated with psychosocial factors and may increase the risk of physical and psychiatric symptoms in adulthoodNo study has yet examined at the general population level the outcome as an adult of headache, the commonest somatic complaint in childhoodWhat this study addsChildren who mention headache are more likely to experience psychosocial adversity and to grow up with an excess of both headache and other physical symptoms and psychiatric symptoms
PMCID: PMC31590  PMID: 11348907

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