Presentation of Chronic Daily Headache: A Clinical Study

Authors

  • Egilius L.H. Spierings MD, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. From the Department of Neurology, Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass (Dr. Spierings) and the
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  • Maya Schroevers BSc,

    1. Department of Clinical & Health Psychology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands (Ms. Schroevers, Mr. Honkoop, and Dr. Sorbi).
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  • Peter C. Honkoop MSc,

    1. Department of Clinical & Health Psychology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands (Ms. Schroevers, Mr. Honkoop, and Dr. Sorbi).
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  • Marjolijn Sorbi PhD

    1. Department of Clinical & Health Psychology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands (Ms. Schroevers, Mr. Honkoop, and Dr. Sorbi).
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Address all correspondence to Dr. Egilius L.H. Spierings, 25 Walnut Street, Suite 102, Wellesley Hills, MA 02181.

Abstract

We studied the presentation of chronic daily headache in 258 patients from a private headache practice, 50 men and 208 women. Chronic daily headache was defined as headaches, occurring at least 5 days per week for at least 1 year.

Seventy-seven percent of the patients experienced the onset of headache before the age of 30. The daily headaches were present on awakening in the morning or came about in the course of the morning in 79% of the patients. In 53%, they were worst in the afternoon or evening. The headaches awoke the patients at night at least once per week in 36%. At least twice per week, they were associated with nausea in 35% of the patients and with vomiting in 9%. Common aggravating factors included light, physical activity, bending over, noise, stress or tension, and menstruation. Ninety-four percent of the patients experienced severe headaches in addition to the daily headaches. In 63%, the severe headaches occurred 10 days per month or less. The daily caffeine intake of the patients averaged 170 mg, and the daily analgesic intake, 1860 mg of aspirin equivalents.

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