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Characteristic and Overlapping Features of Migraine and Tension-Type Headache


  • Dilsad Turkdogan MD,

  • Sultan Cagirici MD,

  • Didem Soylemez MSc,

  • Haydar Sur MD,

  • Cevdet Bilge MD,

  • Ulku Turk MD

  • From the Department of Pediatric Neurology, Institute of Neurological Sciences, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey (Dr. Turkdogan); Department of Neurology, Kartal State Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey (Drs. Cagirici, Bilge, and Turk); Faculty of Health Education, Marmara University Istanbul, Turkey (Ms. Soylemez and Sur).

Address all correspondence to Dr. Dilsad Turkdogan, Bagdat Cad. Soylu Apt No. 181/5 Selamıcesme-Kadıkoy, Istanbul, Turkey.


Objective.—This epidemiological survey was conducted to investigate comprehensive characteristic and overlapping features of migraine and tension-type headache (TTH) disorders classified based on International Classification of Headache Disorders-II.

Methods.—The stratified cohort of this study was composed of 2504 schoolchildren aged 10 to 17 years. A 38-item questionnaire inquiring all characteristic features of primary headache syndromes mandatory for classification was applied to selected 483 children with recurrent headache in the last 6 months.

Results.—Migraine was diagnosed in 227 (47.0%) of 483 children and TTH in 154 (31.9%). Out of 125 children with definite migraine, 73 (58.4%) reported tension-type symptoms and 94 (68.1%) of 138 children with definite TTH reported migraine-type symptoms. Pressing pain (21%) and lack of aggravation of pain by physical activity (34%) were the major tension-type features in patients with migraine. Throbbing quality (43%) and aggravation by physical activity (30%) determined the main migraine-type features in patients with TTH.

Conclusion.—The frequent co-occurrence of migraine and TTH symptoms suggests the presence of a common pathogenesis.