J Korean Med Assoc.  2017 Feb;60(2):112-117. 10.5124/jkma.2017.60.2.112.

Prevalence of headache and headache-related disability in children and adolescents

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Chosun University School of Medicine, Gwangju, Korea. ryoung@chosun.ac.kr


Headache is a frequent neurological symptom in children and adolescents. Recurrent headaches have a significant disabling effect, with consequences including school absenteeism, decreased participation in extracurricular activities, and poor academic performance, and are a risk factor for further chronic headaches and other pain syndromes that merit increased attention. The most common types of primary headache in children and adolescents are migraine and tension-type headache (TTH). In a recent survey of South Korean school students, 29.1% of schoolchildren reported having recurrent headaches. TTH was more frequent than recurrent migraine headaches (13.7% vs. 8.7%), and the frequency of migraine and TTH increased with age. The prevalence rate of TTH in urban areas was higher than in suburban and rural areas. A trend was found for more severe disabilities to occur in older children with headache. Children and adolescents with migraine had the most severe headache-related disabilities. The predictors of headache-related disability were found to be migraine, severe intensity of the headache, frequent headache, and a longer duration of symptoms before presentation. Children and adolescents with recurrent or significant headaches should be diagnosed and treated promptly to reduce headache-related disability and to improve their quality of life.


Headache; Prevalence; Disability; Child

MeSH Terms

Headache Disorders
Migraine Disorders
Quality of Life
Risk Factors
Tension-Type Headache

Cited by  2 articles

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