Tension-type headache associated with obstructive sleep apnea: a nationwide population-based study

Yu Chwen Chiu, Hsiao Yun Hu, Fei Peng Lee, Hung Meng Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is still controversy regarding the association between primary headaches and obstructive sleep apnea. We explored the relationship between tension-type headache (TTH) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) using a large nationwide population-based data set in Taiwan.

Methods: We identified 4759 patients diagnosed with OSA from the Taiwan Longitudinal Health Insurance Database, based on polysomnography, as the OSA group. We then randomly selected 19036 subjects without OSA, matched by sex and age, to serve as the non-OSA group. The multivariate Cox proportional hazards model with matching for age and sex was used to assess the possible associations between TTH and OSA among the patients.

Results: The prevalence of TTH was 10.2% among OSA patients and 7.7% among non-OSA patients (p <0.001). The multivariate Cox proportional hazards model revealed patients with OSA were more likely to have TTH (hazard ratio, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.06–1.31) (p = 0.003) than patients in the non-OSA group.

Conclusion: Patients with OSA had a higher likelihood of developing TTH than patients in the non-OSA group. Further studies of physiological patterns between OSA and TTH are needed to confirm the study findings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015



  • Headache
  • Health insurance database
  • Hypopnea
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Sleep study
  • Taiwan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this