A Prospective Real-World Study Exploring Associations Between Passively Collected Tracker Data and Headache Burden Among Individuals with Tension-Type Headache and Migraine

Pain and Therapy

Christian J. Cerrada, Jae S. Min, Luminita Constantin, Simon Hitier, Iva Igracki Turudic, Caroline Amand-Bourdon, Andrew Stewart, Caty Ebel-Bitoun & Peter J. Goadsby



Prevalence and burden of headache disorders in real-world settings is relatively unstudied. We explored the associations between passively collected activity data, headache burden, and quality of life in headache sufferers.


Data from wearable activity tracking devices and daily short questionnaires were collected over 12 weeks to assess occurrence of headache, activity, quality of life and self-rated health. Variables were analyzed using a series of mixed-effects models and stratified based on headache type. Multiple linear and logistic regressions were used to analyze treatment preferences.


Behaviors inferred from activity tracker data suggested that individuals slept more, had reduced physical activity, and had lower maximum heart rate on days with headache. As headache-specific impact on quality of life increased, activity and maximum heart rate decreased and sleep increased. Headache days with higher self-rated health were associated with less napping, higher step count and maximum heart rate, correlating with increased activity. Migraineurs experienced greater burden in everyday life compared with tension-type headache sufferers.


This study adds to existing evidence that activity trackers can be used to quantify headache burden in real-world settings and aid in understanding symptom management.