Impact of migraine and tension-type headache on life-style, consulting behaviour, and medication use: a Canadian population survey

Can J Neurol Sci. 1993 May;20(2):131-7. doi: 10.1017/s0317167100047697.


A large sample of Canadian adults was surveyed by telephone to determine the prevalence and characterization of headache, and the effects of headache on life-style, consulting behaviours and medication use. We reported prevalence and characterization in a previous issue; here, we detail the effects of headaches on sufferers. Sixteen and one-half percent of adult Canadians experience migraine and 29% tension-type headaches. In over 70% of headache sufferers interpersonal relationships are impaired. Regular activities are limited in 78% of migraine attacks and 38% of tension-type headaches. Despite this, only 64% of migraine and 45% of tension-type headache sufferers had ever sought medical attention, and of these only 32% returned for ongoing care. Fourteen percent of migraine and 8% of tension-type headache sufferers had used emergency departments. Most headache sufferers take medication, primarily over-the-counter varieties. Measures to reach the headache population are needed, as are safe effective treatment options that will encourage them to participate in their medical care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Drug Utilization
  • Female
  • Headache / drug therapy
  • Headache / epidemiology
  • Headache / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology
  • Migraine Disorders / psychology*
  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Social Behavior


  • Nonprescription Drugs