Clinical course of migraine during the COVID-19 Lockdown

TitleClinical course of migraine during the COVID-19 Lockdown
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsGonzalez-Martinez, A., Á. Planchuelo-Gómez, Á. L. Guerrero, D. García-Azorín, S. Santos-Lasaosa, M. P. Pérez-Navarro, P. Odriozola-González, M. Jesús Irurtia, S. Quintas, R. de Luis-García, and A. B. Gago-Veiga
Conference NameInternational Headache Congress 2021
Date Published2021
PublisherInternational Headache Society & European Headache Federation
Conference LocationVirtual Congress

Objective: Previous studies have demonstrated that migraine can worsen due to stress, changes in lifestyle habits or infections. We hypothesize that changes during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown might have worsened the clinical course of migraine.
Methods: Retrospective survey study collecting demographic data, clinical variables related to headache (frequency), migraine (subjective worsening, frequency, and intensity), lockdown, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress from migraine patients followed-up at three Headache Units between June-July 2020.
Results: 222 subjects were included. Among them, 201/222 (90.5%) were women, aged 42.5 +- 12.0 (mean +- SD). Subjective improvement of migraine was reported in 31/222 participants (14.0%), while worsening in 105/222 (47.3%) and was associated with changes in migraine triggers such as stress related to going outdoors and intake of specific foods/drinks. Intensity of attacks increased in 67/222 patients (30.2%), and it was associated with the subjective worsening, female sex, recent insomnia, and use of acute medication during a headache. An increase in monthly days with any headache was observed in 105/222 patients (47.3%) and was related to symptoms of post-traumatic stress, older age and living with five or more people.

Conclusion: Approximately half the migraine patients reported worsening of their usual pain during the lockdown; worsening was related to changes in triggers and the emotional impact of the lockdown.