Characteristic and overlapping features of migraine and tension-type headache

Headache. 2006 Mar;46(3):461-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2006.00377.x.


Objective: This epidemiological survey was conducted to investigate comprehensive characteristic and overlapping features of migraine and tension-type headache (TTH) disorders classified based on International Classification of Headache Disorders-II.

Methods: The stratified cohort of this study was composed of 2504 schoolchildren aged 10 to 17 years. A 38-item questionnaire inquiring all characteristic features of primary headache syndromes mandatory for classification was applied to selected 483 children with recurrent headache in the last 6 months.

Results: Migraine was diagnosed in 227 (47.0%) of 483 children and TTH in 154 (31.9%). Out of 125 children with definite migraine, 73 (58.4%) reported tension-type symptoms and 94 (68.1%) of 138 children with definite TTH reported migraine-type symptoms. Pressing pain (21%) and lack of aggravation of pain by physical activity (34%) were the major tension-type features in patients with migraine. Throbbing quality (43%) and aggravation by physical activity (30%) determined the main migraine-type features in patients with TTH.

Conclusion: The frequent co-occurrence of migraine and TTH symptoms suggests the presence of a common pathogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tension-Type Headache / diagnosis
  • Tension-Type Headache / physiopathology*