Newswise — More than 3 million Americans went to hospital emergency rooms seeking relief from headaches and there were 81,000 hospitals admissions, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. One-third of the emergency visits and two thirds of the hospital stays were for migraine headaches.

AHRQ also found in 2008 that:

• Women accounted for nearly 3 out of 4 emergency department visits and hospital admissions for headaches.

• Migraines were about 4 times more common among women than men in both the emergency department and the hospital.

• People from the lowest-income communities were 2.3 times more likely than those from the highest-income communities to go to the emergency room for headaches – 1,300 versus 565 visits per 100,000 people, respectively.

• Rural residents were 1.6 times more likely than their urban counterparts to make emergency department visits for headaches (1,425 vs. 896 visits per 100,000 people).

• By age, the most likely to make emergency departments visits for headache was 18-to-44 year-olds (1,626 visits per 100,000 people) and the least likely were those 18 and younger (345 visits per 100,000 people).

• The Midwest and South led the country in emergency department visit rates for headache (1,158 and 1,131 per 100,000 people), compared to the Northeast’s 809 visits per 100,000 and people and the West’s 744 visits per 100,000 people.

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in Headaches in U.S. Hospitals and Emergency Departments, 2008 ( The report uses data from the 2008 Nationwide Inpatient Sample and from the 2008 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample -- databases of hospital inpatient stays and emergency departments visits in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 95 percent of all discharges in the United States and include patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.