Patients With Vestibular Migraine are More Likely to Have Occipital Headaches than those With Migraine Without Vestibular Symptoms.

Published on Sep 1, 2020in Headache4.041
· DOI :10.1111/HEAD.13898
Anne-Sophie Wattiez6
Estimated H-index: 6
(UI: University of Iowa),
Sarah A. O'Shea2
Estimated H-index: 2
(UI: University of Iowa)
+ 4 AuthorsDeema Fattal (UI: University of Iowa)
OBJECTIVE To determine whether patients with vestibular migraine are more likely to suffer from an occipital headache than patients with migraine without vestibular symptoms. BACKGROUND Vestibular migraine is an underdiagnosed disorder in which migraine is associated with vestibular symptoms. Anatomical evidence and symptomatology hint at the involvement of brain structures in the posterior fossa (back of the head location). We hypothesized that vestibular migraine patients are more likely than migraineurs without vestibular symptoms to experience headaches located in the back of the head, that is, occipital headaches. METHODS A retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. Chart analysis of 169 patients was performed. The primary outcome was the location of the headache in vestibular migraine patients and migraineurs without vestibular symptoms. The secondary outcomes included the association of vestibular migraine with gender, age at onset of headache, age at onset of vestibular symptoms (such as vertigo, head motion-induced dizziness), aura, motion sickness, other associated symptoms, family history of headaches, and family history of motion sickness. RESULTS In vestibular migraine group, 45/103 (44%) had occipital location for their headaches vs 12/66 (18%) in migraine patients without vestibular symptoms, for an odd's ratio of 3.5 (95% CI = 1.7-7.2, P < .001). Additionally, the age at onset of headache was greater in the vestibular migraine group (28 ± 12 vs 18 ± 9 years, P < .001) and motion sickness was more common (41/98 (42%) in the vestibular migraine group, 1/64 (2%) in the migraine without vestibular symptoms group, P < .001). CONCLUSIONS This study suggests that patients with vestibular migraine are more likely to have occipital headaches than patients with migraine without vestibular symptoms. Our data support the initiation of a prospective study to determine whether a patient presenting with occipital headaches, with late onset of age of headache, and with a history of motion sickness is at an increased risk for the possible development of vestibular migraine.
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