• quality of life;
  • episodic headache;
  • chronic daily headache;
  • attack period;
  • interictal period

The present prospective-type study quantified, by way of an ad hoc questionnaire, the impact of the headache attack in its various manifestations and the effect of headache on the quality of life of 400 headache sufferers. In addition, the functional status of episodic headache patients has been compared to that of patients with chronic daily headache.

We observed that during headache attacks, episodic headache patients were significantly more disabled by physical symptoms. On the contrary, patients with chronic daily headache showed a significantly greater occurrence of emotional disturbances. A difference was detectable for mental health which was significantly more compromised in chronic daily headache than in episodic headache patients (P <0.05).

During the interictal period, quality of life appeared more compromised in chronic daily headache than in episodic headache patients. Chronic daily headache subjects were characterized by higher disability scores in all the sections considered.

The results of this investigation confirm that headache negatively influence a patient's quality of life not only during attack phases but also during interictal periods and underline the importance that future studies on the efficacy of headache treatments should also evaluate the impact on patient's quality of life.