Prevalence of neck pain in migraine and tension-type headache: A population study

Sait Ashina, Lars Bendtsen, Ann C. Lyngberg, Richard B. Lipton, Nazrin Hajiyeva, Rigmor Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

199 Scopus citations


Background: We assessed the prevalence of neck pain in the population in relation to headache. Methods: In a cross-sectional study, a total of 797 individuals completed a headache interview and provided self-reported data on neck pain.We identified migraine, TTH or both migraine and TTH (M+TTH) groups. Pericranial tenderness was recorded in 496 individuals. A total tenderness score (TTS) was calculated as the sum of local scores with a maximum score of 48. Results: The one-year prevalence of neck pain was 68.4% and higher in those with vs. without primary headache (85.7% vs. 56.7%; adjusted OR 3.0, 95% CI 2.04.4, p<0.001). Adjusting for age, gender, education and poor self-rated health, in comparison with those without headaches, the prevalence of neck pain (56.7%) was significantly higher in those with MTTH (89.3%), pure TTH (88.4%) and pure migraine (76.2%) (p<0.05 for all three group comparisons). Individuals with neck pain had higher TTS than individuals without neck pain (15.1±10.5 vs. 8.4±8.0, p<0.001). Conclusions: Neck pain is highly prevalent in the general population and even more prevalent in individuals with primary headaches. Prevalence is highest in coexistent M+TTH, followed by pure TTH and migraine. Myofascial tenderness is significantly increased in individuals with neck pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-219
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 26 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Neck pain
  • migraine
  • population
  • prevalence
  • tenderness
  • tension-type headache

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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