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Prevalence and Risk Factors of Morning Headaches
in the General Population
Ohayon MM.
Posted: October 2004  
Arch Intern Med. 2004;164:97-102

Objective:   To determine the prevalence of chronic morning headaches (CMH) in the general population and their relationship to sociodemographic characteristics, psychoactive substance use, and organic, sleep, and mental disorders.

Results:   Overall, the prevalence of CMH was 7.6%. CMH were reported to occur ‘daily’ by 1.3% of the sample, ‘often’ by 4.4%, and ‘sometimes’ by 1.9%. Rates were higher I women that in men and in subjects aged between 45 and 64 years. The median duration for CMH was 42 months. Various conditions and disorders were found positively associated with CMH. The most significant associated factors were comorbid anxiety and depressive disorders, major depressive disorder alone, dyssomnia not otherwise specified, insomnia disorder, and circadian rhythm disorder. Sleep-related breathing disorder, hypertension, musculoskeletal diseases, use of anxiolytic medication, and heavy alcohol consumption were also significantly associated with CMH.

Conclusion:   Morning headache affects 1 in 13 individuals in the general population. Chronic morning headaches are a good indicator of major depressive disorders and insomnia disorders. Contrary to what was previously suggested, however, they are not specific to sleep-related breathing disorder.