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Psychological, Sleep, Lifestyle, and Comorbid
Associations With Headache
Boardman HF, Thomas E, Millson DS, Croft PR.
Posted: July 2005
Objective: To investigate the associations
of headache occurrence, severity, and frequency with psychological,
sleep, and lifestyle characteristics, and comorbid conditions.
Background: While associations for individual headache
types, particularly migraine, have been investigated, possible
associations between headache of all types and general health
characteristics have not been explored.
Results: Headache occurrence was associated with
anxiety and sleep problems, and the strength of the associations
increased with higher levels of anxiety and sleep problem. While
depression showed an association with headache, this was not seen
in respondents with depression in the absence of anxiety. Headache
occurrence was also associated with comorbid pain anywhere in the
body, with the strongest associations being for the neck and upper
body areas compared with other areas. There was no overall link
with alcohol or caffeine consumption. Increasing severity and
frequency of headache resulted in stronger associations, and there
were strong associations between the occurrence, severity, and
frequency of headache, and both sleep problems and psychological
Conclusion: Poor sleep and anxiety appear to make a
substantial contribution to the impact of headache on sufferers’
lives in the general population.