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Tension headache in the population

Aug 17, 2021

Tension headache is common and debilitating

The prevalence of tension headache

In the general population, 79% of us experience a tension headache at least once in our lives . 3%, however, have chronic tension headaches with more than 15 days per month of pain. As in migraine , this prevalence seems to be higher in women . Tension headache seems to decrease gradually with age.

In a year-long study of 40-year-old patients, the results reported that 48% of them suffered from at least one tension headache, 33% from several and 2% of them chronically.

A second study compared the prevalence of migraine versus tension headaches . It has been reported in 26-year-old patients that 11% reported suffering from a tension headache, while only 3% said they were migraine sufferers. Thus tension headache is very common, the international classification of headaches estimates that this prevalence in the general population is between 30 and 78% . The significant differences are explained by the difficulty of diagnosis and by the contradictory results of several epidemiological studies.

Tip: Watch the video "Tension headache versus migraine"

Types of tension headache: episodic and chronic

Episodic tension headache has been divided into two types.

A rare type , with headache episodes occurring less than once a month. This is the most common form in the population. In general, it has very little impact on the individual and does not require medical treatment in most cases.

The second type is frequent episodic tension headache . This tension headache can be associated with considerable disability and sometimes justifies treatment with expensive drugs. This subdivision made it possible to separate the patients so as not to put almost the entire population in the tension headache category requiring medical treatment.

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