Skip to main content
  • Poster presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Characteristics of primary exertional headache in Korean marine corps


Primary exertional headache is included in "Other Primary Headaches" (Group 4) in the International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd edition (ICHD-II) with primary cough headache, primary sexual headache, and idiopathic stabbing headache. The prevalence of primary exertional headache showed about 1-30.4%.


We investigated about prevalence and characteristics of primary exertional headache in Korean marine corps.


704 patients were treated due to headache. 79 patients of them suffered from exertional headache. We assessed characteristics of patients, comorbidity of migraine, nature of headache, Visual Analog Scale(VAS), neurologic symptoms, exercise which prompted the headache, and effect of medication. Effect of medication also evaluated with VAS.


10.38% of headache group was diagnosed as primary exertional headache. Average age was 20.6 year old and only 1 of 73 patients was female because of homogeneity of military corps. Most quality of headache is pulsating nature (93%) and most location of the headache is bilateral(84%). 3 patients had history or comorbidity of migraine(4%). 16 patients had accompanied symptoms, such as nausea(13 patients), photophobia(1 patient), dizzy sense(2 patients). In analyses of provoked factor, anaerobic exercise is most prompted cause of the headache (67%). 15 patients were provoked due to swimming, and other patients suffered from headache after running, or other aerobic exercise. Average of VAS score was 8.48. After treatment, the score was decreased to 3.40.


Prevalence of primary exertional headache in Korean marine corps is similar to previous population-based studies. Low rate of comorbidity of migraine and neurologic symptoms was differed from these studies. Anaerobic exercise and swimming are revealed frequent inducing factors of primary exertional headache. Because of significant lowering VAS scale, ergotamine might be useful drug to treat the headache.


  1. Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society: The International Classification of Headache Disorders. Cephalalgia 2nd edition. 2004, 24(Suppl 1):9–160.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Pascual J, Iglesias F, Oterino A, Vazquez-Barquero A, Berciano J: Cough, exertional, and sexual headaches: an analysis of 72 benign and symptomatic cases. Neurology 1996, 46: 1520–4. 10.1212/WNL.46.6.1520

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Cho, B., Choi, Y., Nam, T. et al. Characteristics of primary exertional headache in Korean marine corps. J Headache Pain 14 (Suppl 1), P39 (2013).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: