The prevalence of vestibular symptoms in migraine or tension-type headache

Gülden Akdal, Aynur Ozge, Gül Ergör
Journal of Vestibular Research: Equilibrium & Orientation 2013 January 1, 23 (2): 101-6

BACKGROUND: We assessed frequency of vestibular symptoms in Headache Clinic patients over 10 years.

METHODS: A descriptive study of 5111 consecutive patients with tension-type headache or migraine, analyzed for dizziness/ vertigo accompanying headache and for a lifetime history of motion-sickness, cyclic vomiting, recurrent abdominal pain or atopy. Migraine patients were re-grouped as those with vestibular symptoms (dizziness/vertigo or motion sickness) and those without and their data then re-analyzed.

RESULTS: There were 1880 migraine patients and 3231 tension-type headache patients. Significantly more migraine patients than tension-type headache patients experienced vestibular symptoms (p< 0.0001). The migraine with vestibular symptoms group was significantly younger (p< 0.05) had more aura, more phonophobia with migraine attacks (p< 0.0001). Menstruation and reported sleep problems impacted on headaches. While past history of cyclical vomiting, recurrent abdominal pain or atopy was about twice as common in migraine with aura and it was also more common in migraine with vestibular symptoms than migraine without vestibular symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Vestibular symptoms are common in migraine patients. Migraine with vestibular symptoms might constitute a special group, one more likely to have had cyclic vomiting, recurrent abdominal pain or atopy.

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