The methodology of population surveys of headache prevalence, burden and cost: Principles and recommendations from the Global Campaign against Headache

Lars Jacob Stovner*, Mohammed Al Jumah, Gretchen L. Birbeck, Gopalakrishna Gururaj, Rigmor Jensen, Zaza Katsarava, Luiz Paulo Queiroz, Ann I. Scher, Redda Tekle-Haimanot, Shuu Jiun Wang, Timothy J. Steiner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations

Abstract

The global burden of headache is very large, but knowledge of it is far from complete and needs still to be gathered. Published population-based studies have used variable methodology, which has influenced findings and made comparisons difficult. Among the initiatives of the Global Campaign against Headache to improve and standardize methods in use for cross-sectional studies, the most important is the production of consensus-based methodological guidelines. This report describes the development of detailed principles and recommendations. For this purpose we brought together an expert consensus group to include experience and competence in headache epidemiology and/or epidemiology in general and drawn from all six WHO world regions. The recommendations presented are for anyone, of whatever background, with interests in designing, performing, understanding or assessing studies that measure or describe the burden of headache in populations. While aimed principally at researchers whose main interests are in the field of headache, they should also be useful, at least in parts, to those who are expert in public health or epidemiology and wish to extend their interest into the field of headache disorders. Most of all, these recommendations seek to encourage collaborations between specialists in headache disorders and epidemiologists. The focus is on migraine, tension-type headache and medication-overuse headache, but they are not intended to be exclusive to these. The burdens arising from secondary headaches are, in the majority of cases, more correctly attributed to the underlying disorders. Nevertheless, the principles outlined here are relevant for epidemiological studies on secondary headaches, provided that adequate definitions can be not only given but also applied in questionnaires or other survey instruments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2014

Keywords

  • Burden of headache
  • Epidemiology
  • Global Campaign against Headache
  • Guidelines
  • Methodology

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