Current Knowledge of COVID-19-Associated Headache: Zubair Ahmed, MD


The neurologist from Cleveland Clinic provided perspective on why there is a need for continued pressure to research and understand more about COVID-19 and its association with headache.

"Right now, it’s very difficult to tell the phenotype or characteristics that patients present with, which vary a lot. Many patients will present with a migraine-like [condition] where they have light and sound sensitivity, whereas other patients will have this dull, almost daily, headache which seems more like a tension-type headache.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, there has been a growing trough of data which has shown associations of increased frequency of headache and its severity with COVID-19. Additionally, lingering migraine attacks in the post-COVID-19 stage have been documented as well. Although these associations have been well documented, the true underlying mechanistic action of the virus’s impact on the frequency of this disease and how to treat these specific types of headaches is still unknown.

A multitude of COVID-19-related abstracts from Zubair Ahmed, MD, and Aarushi Suneja, MD, were presented at the 2021 Virtual American Headache Society (AHS) 63rd Scientific Annual Meeting, June 3-6. One in particular highlighted the design of a prospective study headed by the duo which will investigate effect of bilateral occipital nerve blocks on headache frequency, severity, and quality of life in patients who develop post COVID-19 headache.

In this interview with NeurologyLive, Zubair, a neurologist at Cleveland Clinic, detailed misleading amount of data regarding the associations between migraine and COVID-19 and why continued research is needed to better understand its long-term effects.

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