Get answers to your Pediatric Headache and Hospitalist questions.
Tension-type headaches are the most common headaches, accounting for nearly half of all headaches. According to one study, nearly 40% of Americans have at least one episode of tension headache during the course of a year. Tension-type headaches are more common among women than men. Some reports estimate that over 85% of women and about 63% of men will have a tension-type headache at some point during a year. Nearly everyone has at least one tension-type headache during their lifetime.
Episodic tension-type headaches are more common than chronic tension-type headaches. Surveys indicate that about 3% of the general population has chronic tension-type headache.
Tension-type headaches are most likely to occur among people in their 40s. The prevalence of tension-type headaches declines as people become older.
Headaches are rare before age 4 but increase in prevalence throughout childhood, reaching a peak around age 13. In one large study, about 7% of 7-year olds and 15% of 11-year olds had headaches. Ten percent of these childhood headaches were recurrent. In many of these patients, chronic headaches persist into adulthood. In addition, as adults these patients have a tendency to develop multiple physical or psychiatric complaints, such as back pain, muscle aches, digestive complaints, and depression.
Studies have found that only a minority of chronic childhood headaches are due to physical conditions, such as head injuries or medical problems. Many children with tension-type headache episodes also suffer from some form of emotional disorder.
Psychosocial factors associated with childhood tension-type headaches include:
The National Headache Foundation recommends these tips for parents:
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