The evolution of headache from childhood to adulthood: a review of the literature

Fabio Antonaci, Cristina Voiticovschi-Iosob, Anna Luisia Di Stefano, Federica Galli, Aynur Ozge, Umberto Balottin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Headache is one of the most common disorders in childhood, with an estimated 75% of children reporting significant headache by the age of 15 years. Pediatric migraine is the most frequent recurrent headache disorder, occurring in up to 28% of older teenagers. Headaches rank third among the illness-related causes of school absenteeism and result in substantial psychosocial impairment among pediatric patients. The aim of this study was to clarify the evolution of the clinical features of primary headache in the transition from childhood to adulthood through a review of relevant data available in the PubMed and Google Scholar databases for the period 1988 to July 2013. The search strategy identified 15 published articles which were considered eligible for inclusion in the analysis (i.e. relevant to the investigation of pediatric headache outcome). All were carried out after the publication of the first version of the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD-I). The availability of data on the evolution of primary headaches over a period of time is important from both a clinical and a public health perspective. The identification of prognostic factors of the evolution of headache (remission or evolution into another headache form) over time should be an objective of future headache research for the development of prevention strategies. Given that headache is a major factor contributing to school absenteeism and poorer quality of life not only in childhood but also in adolescence, understanding the natural history and the management of the different headache forms is vital for our future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Adolescence
  • Childhood
  • Cluster headache
  • Evolution
  • Migraine
  • Tension-type headache

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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