You Are Not Alone

Headaches are underestimated

Headache is a common symptom that can be caused more than 200 different medical problems (see this link). Some causes are very visible (like brain tumors), but the most common causes like migraine and tension type headache are not visible on available imaging.

A few facts about headaches

Headache is a symptom, not a diagnosis

Headaches are not always easy to diagnose

The impact of headaches on quality of life is underestimated

Many headaches are chronic (last for years) and cannot be cured

Headaches can require a global approach that is often not accessible

The science on headache is evolving fast and there is hope

Migraine is the second most common type of headache. It is also the third most common disease in the world.

The most common headache is tension type, but it is way less disabling

In Canada, migraine affects

25% of women
8% of men
10% of children

That is why there is a focus on migraine in our website but we must not forget the other headaches.

How common are other headaches?

Please note that this data does not come from Canada. We need more research on headache prevalence in Canada.

Chronic Tension Type Headache: 2%

Persistent post-traumatic headache: 2/1000 (probably more)

Cluster headache: 1/1000

Trigeminal neuralgia: 1/1000

New Daily Persistent Headache: 1/1000

CSF leaks: 1/10 000

Based on these statistics, we can propose that headaches are a public health concern and that headache clinics should be available to Canadians.

For comparison, prevalences of other well-known diseases

Asthma: 8%

Diabetes: 7%

Epilepsy: 1%

Multiple sclerosis: 2/1000

Migraine has a significant impact on personal and professional life

Migraine can start in childhood or teenage and persist until older age. It affects people during their productive years. It does not kill people but impairs life, one day at a time. The World Health Organization recognizes migraine as the first cause of disability in people under 50 years old (all diseases considered).

Chronic migraine is the most severe form of migraine

Chronic migraine (CM) means having 15 days or more of headache per month, 8 of which are migraine attacks. Chronic Migraine may affect 2% of Canadians. That means 760 000 Canadians. 

Patients with chronic migraine suffer from significant comorbidities and diminished quality of life. In a survey realized by Migraine Canada on 250 persons with chronic migraine:

45% were on disability

62% had consulted 5 or more other health care professionals for their migraines

38% reported no improvement at all from the care received so far, and 51% a mild improvement.

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