Prevalence and characteristics of headaches in a socially active population working in the Tokyo metropolitan area -surveillance by an industrial health consortium

Intern Med. 2014;53(7):683-9. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.53.1700. Epub 2012 Mar 1.


Objective: The goal of this study was to determine the prevalence and clinical characteristics of headaches among socially active people working in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Methods: We cross-sectionally surveyed 7,917 individuals. The survey assessed demographic characteristics, the prevalence and characteristics of headaches and physician attendance.

Results: The lifetime prevalence of migraines was 8.9%, while that of tension-type headaches was 14.7%. Women exhibited a higher prevalence of migraines than men (15% vs. 3.7%; p<0.001). The prevalence of migraines and tension-type headaches differed among occupations. Susceptibility to migraines and tension-type headaches related to working overtime was observed. With respect to the influence of migraines on social activities, 22.4% of the migraineurs had been obliged to miss work due to headaches several times a year. As many as 59.4% of the sufferers had never consulted a physician about their headaches. Moreover, 24.6% of the migraineurs were not in touch with any physician at the time of the survey. The most common reason why they had stopped visiting their physician was that they had been told their headaches were not fatal.

Conclusion: Migraines adversely affect social activities. These data provide important information for understanding the features of migraines and tension-type headaches in socially active people working in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Headache / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Industry*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health*
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Tokyo / epidemiology
  • Urban Health*
  • Urban Population*
  • Young Adult