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Daily, Episodic, and Paroxysmal Headaches
in a Headache-Practice Population
Spierings E.L., Coeytaux R.R.
Posted October, 2002
Headache 2002; 42:408

The purpose of the study was to categorize the headache-practice population of the first author in terms of daily, episodic, and paroxysmal headaches and to describe some of the features of the first two groups in particular. The second author, a family physician and epidemiologist, analyzed the initial evaluation reports of 1452 patients with headache, seen personally by the first author, a neurologist with specialty training in headache management. Of the 1452 patients, 55.7% had daily headaches (headaches 5 days/week or more), 38.9% episodic headaches (headaches less than 5 days/week), and 5.4% paroxysmal headaches (cluster headache, paroxysmal hemicrania, jabs & jolts syndrome). The patients with the daily headaches, in comparison with those with the episodic headaches, were more likely to have an onset of any headache in adulthood (51.0% versus 45.4% before age 20). They were older at the time of initial evaluation (41.0 versus 38.3 years), were more likely to have a history of other headaches (61.9% versus 35.4%), and were less likely to report nausea or vomiting with their headaches (64.2% versus 73.8%). With the approach taken, all headaches could be categorized with a minimum of assumptions. On the basis of the observed differences, it is suggested that the patients with daily headaches do represent a different population than those with episodic headaches.