The next time your head begins to in pain, it could be a bit comforting to know that you’re not the only one.
A recently released Norwegian study found that over 50% of us more than 52% people suffer a type of headache disorder, mostly chronic migraines or tension-type headaches. One in six people, according to the study suffer from headaches on any particular day.
This study came out of a report which confirmed that migraines are extremely painful. Migraines, according to the study to be the second most common reason for disability in the world and are the most common cause of disability in women between the ages of 14 and 49.
“Certainly for women, and even males, we can see the greatest (migraine) effects during the high-productive years between the ages of 25to 45 years of age,” said Cleveland Clinic neurologist Dr. MaryAnn Mays. “So aside from the immediate costs that come to mind, such as doctors’ offices and ER appointments and medication there’s an entire set of indirect expenses.”
The indirect costs are mainly related to workplace absence, as per Mays report, and also “presenteeism,” a term employed to refer to workers who aren’t functioning properly at work, typically due to injury or illness.
Mays claimed that as high as 75% of sufferers have difficulty being able to concentrate or perform at work. According to one estimate, migraine-related presenteeism alone cost U.S. companies $240 billion in lost productivity each year.
Also, there’s the impact on the social and emotional. Mays reported that studies suggest that one-third of people suffering from chronic migraines avoid certain events, like family gatheringsor plan events when they feel pain that is throbbing and associated side effects which typically include vomiting, nausea and sensitivity to light or sounds.
Although tension headaches are generally less debilitating and severe than migraines, they’re far more prevalent, according to Doctor. Cheryl Hammes, a Cleveland-based associate professor at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and the president of Integrative Wellness in Brecksville.
Furthermore, tension headahces may cause “a reduction in the quality of life” Hammes said, by restricting our daily tasks as caregivers, employees or parents.
“The suffering can affect your ability to concentrate in a certain degree,” she said.
Hammes explained that chronic tension headaches could be due to traumas like concussions from sports or whiplash from a vehicle accident. They may also be a result of issues such as TMJ where tension is created in the jaw muscles or from musculoskeletal problems due to spending a lot of the day in an unnatural sitting in a non-ergonomic position.
Migraines However, migraines they have less to do with muscle injuries and are more related to the nervous system and stress.
The doctors recommended the importance of hydration, sleep and exercising, staying away from processed food, along with managing your stress levels as the most effective methods to stay away from triggering both kinds of headaches.
“I frequently suggest the magnesium supplement and Vitamin B2 for supplements that can help migraine sufferers also,” Mays said.
Hammes claimed that people suffering from headaches may benefit through manual manipulation of joints and muscles around the neck and shoulders.
It works “especially for tension headaches,” according to Hammes however, it can also assist in migraines when there’s an issue with the structure (i.e. head or neck trauma) associated with migraines.
“I typically advise my clients to test the osteopathic method 3 times until they conclude that it’s not been any help at all, or that there’s nothing to be done,” she explained.
Mays recommends against a heavy dependence on pain relief medications such as Ibuprofen. It can worsen the issue by leading to “medication excessive use” headaches.
“If you’re taking these drugs at least twice per week to treat headaches, it’s best to consult your doctor,” she said.
Doctors can prescribe specific treatments to be taken in the early stages of migraines, for instance or try to stop migraines completely by using medications to lower blood pressure such as anti-seizure medications such as antidepressants or Botox injections. Mays is particularly excited over CGRP antagonists, which are a new category of treatments that work by stopping pain-inducing inflammation within the brain. He has seen its benefits on the ground.
“I had a patient who was handicapped from headaches for a long time. She had a limited range of things she could do. She didn’t go to college or had any family members She has also noticed remarkable improvement since she began taking one of those CGRP treatments,” Mays said. “But they’re massive cost.”
Hammes advises her frequent sufferers of headaches to start by writing down their experience to identify what could be leading to the onset. If you wake awake with headache, it could be that your pillow isn’t big enough or too small, or you CPAP machine straps aren’t enough tight. If it’s the result of an exhausting day of school or work, perhaps your backpack or messenger bag is too heavy, or your computer’s screen isn’t high enough.
Recognizing patterns can assist doctors determine the cause of your headache and suggest possible treatments.
“If the patients do not receive a therapy specifically tailored to their particular type of headache and type, they could be unsatisfied,” Mays said, “and therefore, it’s a good idea to consult with someone you know is familiar with the management of the type of headache that you have.”
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