Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Precipitating and relieving factors of migraine versus tension type headache

Badrul Haque1, Kazi Mohibur Rahman1, Azharul Hoque1, ATM Hasibul Hasan2*, Rajib Nayan Chowdhury1, Sharif Uddin Khan1, Mondal Badrul Alam1, Mansur Habib1 and Quazi Deen Mohammad1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Dhaka, Bangladesh

2 Department of Medicine, Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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BMC Neurology 2012, 12:82  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-82

Published: 25 August 2012



To determine the differences of precipitating and relieving factors between migraine and tension type headache.


This is a cross sectional study. We retrospectively reviewed the records of 250 migraine patients and 250 patients diagnosed as tension type headache from the specialized headache clinic in Dept. of Neurology, Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Data were collected through a predesigned questionnaire containing information on age, sex, social status and a predetermined list of precipitating and relieving factors.


In this study, the female patients predominated (67%). Most of the patients were within 21–30 years age group (58.6%). About 58% of them belonged to middle class families. The common precipitating factors like stress, anxiety, activity, journey, reading, cold and warm were well distributed among both the migraine and tension type headache (TTH) patients. But significant difference was demonstrated for fatigue (p < 0.05), sleep deprivation (p < 0.05), sunlight (p < 0.01) and food (p < 0.05), which were common among migraineurs. In consideration of relieving factors of pain, different maneuvers were commonly tried by migraineurs and significant difference were observed for both analgesic drug and massage (p < 0.05), which relieved migraine headache. But maneuvers like sleep, rest and posture were used by both groups.


The most frequent precipitating factors for headache appear to be identical for both migraine and TTH patients. Even though some factors like fatigue, sleep deprivation, sunlight and food significantly precipitate migraine and drug, massage are effective maneuver for relieving pain among migrianeurs.

Headache; Tension type headache (TTH); Migraine