Impact of Individual Headache Types on the Work and Work Efficiency of Headache Sufferers

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Sep 22;17(18):6918. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17186918.


Background: Headaches have not only medical but also great socioeconomic significance, therefore, it is necessary to evaluate the overall impact of headaches on a patient's life, including their work and work efficiency. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of individual headache types on work and work efficiency. Methods: This research was designed as a cross-sectional study performed by administering a questionnaire among employees. The questionnaire consisted of general questions, questions about headache features, and questions about the impact of headaches on work. Results: Monthly absence from work was mostly represented by migraine sufferers (7.1%), significantly more than with sufferers with tension-type headaches (2.23%; p = 0.019) and other headache types (2.15%; p = 0.025). Migraine sufferers (30.2%) worked in spite of a headache for more than 25 h, which was more frequent than with sufferers from tension-type and other-type headaches (13.4%). On average, headache sufferers reported work efficiency ranging from 66% to 90%. With regard to individual headache types, this range was significantly more frequent in subjects with tension-type headaches, whereas 91-100% efficiency was significantly more frequent in subjects with other headache types. Lower efficiency, i.e., 0-40% and 41-65%, was significantly more frequent with migraine sufferers. Conclusions: Headaches, especially migraines, significantly affect the work and work efficiency of headache sufferers by reducing their productivity. Loss is greater due to reduced efficiency than due to absenteeism.

Keywords: headache burden; migraine; tension-type headache; working population.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Efficiency
  • Headache* / complications
  • Headache* / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders* / complications
  • Migraine Disorders* / physiopathology
  • Work*