Fact Sheets

Note: The fact sheets are in Portable Document Format (PDF) and require a compatible reader to view them. We suggest Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded at the Adobe site.

These fact sheets are available in: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Polish, Arabic, and Chinese. Watch this space for additions and translations in the future.

Epidemiology of Headache

"Headaches are the most prevalent neurological disorders and among the most frequent symptoms seen in general practice. 50% of the general population have headaches during any given year, and more than 90% report a lifetime history of headache." [English]

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Migraine

"Migraineurs have recurrent, severe, and disabling attacks of headache, often unilateral and pulsating, along with symptoms of sensory disturbance, such as light, sound, and odor sensitivity. Nausea and neck stiffness are other common symptoms, and symptoms can be aggravated by movement." [English]

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Tension-Type Headache

"Tension-type headache (TTH) is the most common form of headache. The lifetime prevalence of episodic TTH is almost 80%, and that of chronic TTH is 3%. Women are slightly more affected than men. The age of onset peaks between 35 and 40 years, and prevalence declines with age in both sexes." [English]

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Trigemino-Autonomic Headaches

"Cluster headache belongs to a group of idiopathic headaches that all involve activation of trigeminovascular nociceptive pathways along with reflex cranial autonomic activation. All these headache syndromes have two features in common: short-lasting, unilateral, severe headache attacks and typical autonomic accompanying symptoms." [English]

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Headache in Childhood and Adolescence

"Children and adolescents can have all types of primary and secondary headache. In particular, migraine and tension-type headache (TTH) are highly prevalent in these age groups. The spectrum of secondary headaches is somewhat different in children and adolescents, with a higher prevalence of inflammatory headaches and a lower prevalence of structural headaches." [English]

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Medication Overuse Headache

"Medication overuse headache is a chronic headache that may occur in patients suffering from primary headache (especially migraine). Medication overuse is a strong risk factor for increasing headache frequency; it may worsen from an episodic headache to a chronic headache." [English]

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Trigeminal Neuralgia and Persistent Idiopathic Facial Pain

"Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a unilateral painful disorder that is characterized by brief, electric-shock-like pains, is abrupt in onset and termination, and is limited to the distribution of one or more divisions of the trigeminal nerve. Persistent idiopathic facial pain (PIFP), previously termed atypical facial pain, is a persistent facial pain that does not have the characteristics of cranial neuralgias and cannot be attributed to a different disorder." [English]

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Short Stabbing Headaches

"Stabbing headaches lasting for a few seconds are of three different types: (1) primary and symptomatic stabbing headache, (2) primary and symptomatic cough headache, and (3) short unilateral neuralgiform headaches with conjunctival injection and tearing." [English]

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Migraine and Hormonal Changes

"During childhood, boys and girls are equally affected by migraine. At puberty, the incidence of migraine without aura rises in females, with 10% to 20% of women reporting migraine during the same year as their first menstrual period. Throughout the reproductive years, menstruation is one of the most significant risk factors for migraine without aura. Postmenopause is associated with improvement in migraine." [English]

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Vascular Changes in Migraine

"A causative role for vasodilatation in migraine pain has been a subject of intense debate for centuries. In the second century, Galen suggested that the throbbing pain during headache originated from blood vessels. In 1672, Thomas Wills proposed the first vascular theory of migraine and suggested that "megrim" was due to dilatation of blood vessels within the head." [English]

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Migraine and Neurophysiology

"In the case of migraine, the contribution of neurophysiology to diagnosis is limited, with few exceptions. However, the techniques can be useful in the assessment of CNS dysfunction, i.e., in understanding the pathophysiology of the disease. Neurophysiology can also be used to understand the effect of migraine treatments." [English]

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Neuroimaging in Headache

"Neuroimaging is divided into three types: diagnostic, functional, and morphometric or structural imaging. The first neuroimaging method is used for clinical purposes and is routinely performed to rule out secondary causes in headache, whereas the other two—functional and morphometric imaging—are for scientific research purposes only." [English]

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Neuromodulation in Primary Headaches

"Neuromodulatory approaches can be divided into invasive procedures and noninvasive procedures. The underlying principle is a modulation of neuronal structures that are directly or indirectly involved in detection or transmission of painful stimuli or in the processing of this information in the brain." [English]

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Genetics in Headache

"Epidemiological family and twin studies indicate that the genetic component is higher in migraine with aura than in migraine without aura. Although genetic factors are also involved in other headaches, such as tension-type headache and cluster headache, gene discoveries in these headache types, unlike in migraine, are essentially lacking." [English]

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