A recent study in Europe revealed some startling results about the healthcare costs associated with headache. It now raises the question: if the cost of headache is so high, why does it get the short end of the stick with respect to research?
It turns out, funding for headache research and therapy does get the short end of the stick in European neurology.
In this recent study, the authors compared the cost of major headache disorders: migraine, tension-type headache and medication-overuse headache with other neurologic and psychiatric conditions.
The average cost per European with a headache disorder in 2010 was 285 euros which is a small amount compared with the 30,000 euros per patient with a neuromuscular disorder. HOWEVER, headache disorders are so common that the total annual cost was calculated at 43.5 billion euros.
Compare 43 billion euros (for headache) to other disabling neurologic conditions:
• Epilepsy 13.8 billion euros
• Multiple sclerosis 14.6 billion euros
• Parkinson’s disease 13.9 billion euros
• Traumatic brain injury 33 billion euros
What this means is that headaches cost more than epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease combined. Yet, we should take notice that little research and resources are dedicated to treating headache.
When the authors of this study included reduced productivity at work from headache, the cost among 18- to 65-year-olds in the European Union was 173 billion euros.
Migraine is the real problem accounting for sixty-four percent of the annual cost of headache among European adults, followed by 21% for medication-overuse headache and 12% for tension-type headache.
Many of you suffer from chronic headaches. So I ask you, is headache being forgotten?
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