Effects of Headache on Working Ability: A Survey of an Urban and a Rural Population in Northern Finland



SYNOPSISIn a headache survey in which a self-administered questionnaire was used, the respondents were asked to estimate work absence frequency, effect on daily activities and disability due to headache. Work absence was not a common occurrence. Only 2632018 respondents (13%) who suffered from headaches were absent from work one or more days during the previous year. Of these, absence was estimated at 1–3 daysyear in 41%, and 7 days or less, in 55%. 28% stated that they had been absent but were unable to estimate the number of days. Self-employed persons had a higher percentage of absence than other employed categories, and the rural self-employed and rural housewives had the highest percentage of absence. 22% stated that headache did not affect their work, 26% were able to carry on by easing their pace of work, and 47% were forced to rest or lie down during an attack. In a random sample of 154 personally examined headache sufferers, vascular headaches were more incapacitating, but did not cause more frequent absence from work.