Physical activity and headache: results from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT)

Authors

  • E Varkey,

    1. Cephalea Headache Centre, Gothenburg and
    2. Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Gothenburg, Sweden,
    Search for more papers by this author
  • K Hagen,

    1. Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Section of Neurology and Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, and
    Search for more papers by this author
  • J-A Zwart,

    1. Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Section of Neurology and Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, and
    2. Department of Neurology, Ullevål University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
    Search for more papers by this author
  • M Linde

    1. Cephalea Headache Centre, Gothenburg and
    2. Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Gothenburg, Sweden,
    Search for more papers by this author

Emma Varkey, RPT, Cephalea Headache Centre, Läkarhuset, Södra vägen 27, SE-41135 Gothenburg, Sweden. Tel. + 46 3181 0900, fax + 46 3181 4259, e-mail emma.varkey@cephalea.se

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate, using a prospective and a cross-sectional design, the relationship between level of physical activity and migraine and non-migraine headache. In the prospective part, 22 397 participants, not likely to have headache, answered questions about physical activity at baseline (1984–1986) and responded to a headache questionnaire at follow-up. In the cross-sectional part (1995–1997), 46 648 participants answered questions about headache and physical activity. Physically inactive individuals at baseline were more likely than active individuals to have non-migraine headache 11 years later (odds ratio 1.14, 95% confidence interval 1.02, 1.28). In the cross-sectional analyses, low physical activity was associated with higher prevalence of migraine and non-migraine headache. In both headache groups, there was a strong linear trend (P < 0.001) of higher prevalence of ‘low physical activity’ with increasing headache frequency. The result may indicate that physical inactivity among headache-free individuals is a risk factor for non-migraine headache and that individuals with headache are less physically active than those without headache.

Ancillary