Classification of Migraine and Tension Headache from a Survey of 10,000 Headache Diaries


  • Supported by Veterans Administration Medical Research and NIMH Grant MH26316.



Descriptions of migraine and muscle tension headaches have been based primarily on retrospective medical histories. To obtain a more accurate picture of symptoms patients use to classify these headaches, a sample of 10,000 headaches was gathered from daily diaries. Patients experiencing both migraine and tension headaches are able to differentiate these disorders consistently, using moderate ratings of intensity, low ratings of disability, and short length for tension headaches, and ratings of relatively high intensity and disability, moderately long duration, and occasional gastrointestinal upset for migraine headaches. These configurations confirm the general view obtained from medical histories.