Introduction: 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.
Methods: 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.
Results: 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.
Conclusion: 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.
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