Open Access

Headache-related work disability in young men

  • Konstantinidos Vadikolias,
  • Ioannis Heliopoulos,
  • Grigorios Tripsianis,
  • Athanasios Achtaropoulos,
  • Elias Homsioglou,
  • Nickolaos Artemis,
  • Haritomeni Piperidou and
  • Ioannis Milonas
The Journal of Headache and PainOfficial Journal of the Italian Society for the Study of Headaches3:00023

DOI: 10.1007/s101940200023


Based on the knowledge that migraine and tension-type headache (TTH) are associated with reduced effectiveness at work and impairment of function in social roles, we studied the different influences that these primary headaches have on work in a specialized and homogeneous population. We studied 140 consecutive male patients, aged 18–35 years, attending an outpatient headache clinic at the Neurology Department of an Army General Hospital. Using International Headache Society (IHS) criteria, 60 patients were diagnosed with migraine and 80 patients with TTH. The impact of headache on work during the preceding 2 months was assessed using a selfadministered questionnaire, based on MIDAS. Two parameters of work disability were derived: the lost work days (LWD) and the days with reduced effectiveness while being at work (REWD). Of 142 LWD due to headaches, 95 (66.9%) were attributable to migraine and 47 (33.1%) to TTH (plt;0.001). Of 490 REWD, 120 (24.4%) were reported by migraineurs and 370 (75.5%) by TTH patients (p<0.001). The number of LWD in migraine was significantly higher (p<0.001) than in TTH group; the number of REWD in TTH group was significantly higher (p<0.001) than in migraine group. Pain intensity was the main factor contributing to disability at work in migraine group (plt;0.001), in contrast with TTH group in which there was no statistical difference (p>0.05) between pain intensity and duration of pain. Patients with migraine were much more likely to report actual lost workdays because of headache whereas TTH was responsible for the largest proportion of decreased work effectiveness. Assessing headache severity with an objective method (i.e. questionnaire) may improve headache care and lead to proper treatment decisions. Special attention must be given to particular populations.

Key words Migraine Tension-type headache Worn effectiveness