Objective: To analyze the patients sent to Neurology Clinics for headache and to investigate the differences in epidemiology, clinical findings and therapeutics as compared with those consulting for other neurological disorders.
Patients and methods: Eighteen neurologists from all the Outpatient Departments of the Community of Aragon Health Service were analysed using a specially designed questionnaire for all the patients who attended the Neurology Clinics for the first time during a period of three months.
Results: Of 3,489 patients assessed, 25.5% complained of headache. Of these, 70% were women of an average age of 41.2 +/- 18.8 years. In 42% the consultation was for migraine followed by chronic tension headache in 30.1%. Family doctors sent 86.7% of the patients and requested complementary tests for 31.1%. Cerebral TAC (12.4%) and EEG (7.6%) were the investigations most often requested. Treatment was given to 68.6% of the patients with headache. Calcium-antagonists and anti-depressants were the drugs most used.
Conclusions: Headache is the commonest cause for consulting a neurologist. It affects young adults, with marked predominance of the female sex. There are significative differences in clinical attention (fewer complementary tests are requested and less follow-up is necessary, although more treatment is given) than for other neurology patients.