Only 96% of undergraduates (n=287) completed the questionnaire appropriately. Among the respondents, the majority were males (51%) (n=146). Undergraduates who were following science-based degrees (55%) (n=158) were higher compared to non- science degrees (45%) (n=128). Socio-demographic characteristics of the participants are shown in Table 1.
Prevalence of Headache (Frequency of Occurrence, Symptoms and Trigger Factors)
Undergraduates suffered from headaches when they were younger was 38% (n=108). Undergraduates who perceived experience of headache was 76% (n=218). Among the respondents 42% of undergraduates (n=92) perceived the experience of headache months ago, 37% (n=80) perceived the experience of headache several years ago and 21% (n=46) of undergraduates perceived the experience of headache for several days. The frequency of occurrence of headache was as follows, 37% (n=87) of the participants experienced headache once a week while 30% (n=70) of participants experienced once a month. The percentage of students who experienced headache each day was 10% (n=24).
Majority of the undergraduates (49%, n=115) experienced the occurrence of headache “suddenly” while (39%, n=93) minority of undergraduates experienced it gradually. When considering the time of the occurrence of headache, 42% (n=98) of participants experienced headache in the afternoon, 29% (n=68) in the evening respectively. Interestingly, the majority of undergraduates had not experienced headache at the beginning of the day (in the mornings). Further, 58% (n= 137) of undergraduates experienced relief from headache within hours of medication while 36% (n=84) stated that their headache lasts for minutes with medication. However, 65% (n=153) participants stated that their headache lasts for hours without medication. Moreover, when considering intensity of headache with and without medication; with medication, the majority of students 97% (n=227) experienced mild to moderate headache. When considering the intensity of headache without medication, 38% (n=89) of students were in severe condition while 52% (n=122) experienced moderate condition.
Most of the students 34% (n=81) had a feeling of the pain in both sides of the head. Additionally, 29% undergraduates (n=69) had the pain behind eyes, 21% (n=50) either left or ride sides, 10% (n=23) left side, 11% (n=25) neck and 16% (n=37) back of the head and 7% (n=17) had a feeling of the pain in both sides of the head. The prevalence of trigger factors associated with headache of the study population is shown in Table 2.
As a symptom, the majority of undergraduates experienced fatigue (56%, n=131). Mood changes” were caused due to headache in 24% (n= 56) of students. Moreover, 18% (n= 52) of the students were presented with neck pain. Partial loss of vision occurred in 15% (n= 36) of students. Appetite changes were experienced by 12% (n=29) of students. “Upset of stomach” was caused due to headache in 6% (n= 14) students.
Impact on daily activities
From the total participants, 68% (n= 195) rated their health in general as “Average”, 9% (n= 25) as “Good”, 18% (n= 51) as “Excellent” and 5% (n= 15) as “Poor”. “Average” health status was shown by the majority of the undergraduates of all four academic years. There was a statistically significant relationship between academic years with the health status of undergraduates (p= 0.00, p<0.05) participated in the study.
According to sleeping behaviors of the participants, 31% (n=78) of participants showed problems with falling asleep while 26% (n=65) presented problems with staying asleep. When assessing the eating behaviors of the participants, the majority (64%, n=158) had not skipped their breakfast, but they had not taken their lunch (27%, n=66) regularly.
Participants who avoided the lectures, examinations and sports due to headache were 32% (n=78), 11% (n=26) and 21% (n=52) respectively. Most of the non-science undergraduates avoided participating in the lectures than science undergraduates. There was a statistically significant association between avoiding participation in the lectures due to headache with the discipline of study of undergraduates (p = 0.021, p< 0.05) Moreover most of the undergraduates in the 2nd year avoided participating in the lectures than other academic years. There was a statistically significant association between the academic years with undergraduates who avoided participating in the lectures (p= 0.006, p<0.05). There is no statistically significant association between problems when falling asleep, avoiding participating in the lectures, exams, and sports with the academic years.
Common measures and practices used to relieve/ prevent headache
The majority of respondents (71%, n=170) marked that “Lying down” / “Sleeping” as the most comfortable positions when they are suffering from headache. Head massage was used by 53% (n=128) of undergraduates and being in a dark quiet room was used by 15% (n=37) students, hot packs on the head/neck were used by 4% (n=9) as measures to relieve from headache.
According to the data, 43% of participants (n=123) sought treatments to relieve symptoms of headache. Among them, 33% of students (n=41) took the treatments from a doctor. Over the counter medications were used by 73% of students (n=90). Additionally, Ayurveda treatments were taken by 12% of students (n=15).
Medication use for headache in the study population is shown in Figure 1 (n= 87).