It’s a sound that is so common and familiar in my house I recognize it as I can hear the sound of a key inside the doorway to my front. It’s the low squeak that signals the door to the cupboard for medicines and then the sound of a huge pill bottle. At least once a week there is a time when at the very least, one person in my home is suffering from headaches. Are you also one of them? feel a headache this moment, or even while reading these sentences? Chances are that you are.
A study published in April report review conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and published in The Journal of Headache and Pain found that every day “15.8 percent of the world’s population suffered from headaches and more than 50% of them have having a migraine (7 %).” According to the Australian Standard starkly notes, “that implies that 1.1 billion people suffer from a headache at present.” As the study’s chief writer, Lars Jacob Stovner, stated in a press announcement, “the prevalence of headache conditions is high across the globe in addition, the burden of various types of headaches can affect many.”
“Each each day 15.8 percentage of people in the world had headaches nearly half of people who suffer from migraines report having one.”
Over time I’ve become accustomed to taking headaches so easily in my daily life that I didn’t think about them. When I’m hungry, I consume food. I’m tired, and I take a nap. I experience headaches I have a headache, so I go to the doctor, and take Excedrin. It’s how my days go, isn’t it? However, on a very pleasant afternoon in the past I was in that 7% of people across the world who suffer from migraine. While I shut my eyes and silently cried in the cafeteria of the local Target I recalled that simply because a condition is normal, doesn’t mean it unavoidable or manageable.
Over 50% of people have experienced migraines within the past year. As Northwestern Medicine reports, they are “more frequent, lasting, and common in women.” Also, we’re more likely to be suffering from migraines. The problem isn’t COVID-19 itself sending Acetaminophen off the shelves, it’s the heads of our patients.
Related: One-fifth American adults suffer from chronic pain. Why don’t we talk about it more?
However, is it true that headaches really on the rise or do we just seem like that constantly under our tension-filled faces? The researchers in the Norwegian study, who analyzed the results of 357 studies however, are cautious when making conclusions. They point out that “headache conditions are still very common in the world,” and that they “found an increase in migraine prevalence,” there are “large differences in study findings.” The populations with a more awareness of migraine-related disorders, for instance, reported more incidence of them.
It’s clear, however is that we’re causing many headache-inducing conditions for us all over the world. We spend an average of 12 hours a day on our phones reading text messages and breathing in blue light. We consume plenty of caffeine 90% of us drink it, at least once a day in our lives. Among those who do in it, 25% drink it at least three every day.
Perhaps that’s the reason we’re sleeping less. A new Ball State University study found 35.6 percent of people said they got less than seven hours sleep every night including police health workers and officers finding they’re surviving on five or six hours. These numbers haven’t changed over the last two years. A HealthDay survey conducted earlier this year discovered that one-third of respondents claimed they were more exhausted than they were before the outbreak pandemic. Also, 28.5 percent reported that they were sleeping less.
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This is the reason why we have a pandemic within the room. A study by the American Psychological Association found nearly 50% of people who were surveyed stated they were feeling more stressed than in the past. Stress can be a trigger for headaches of its own, but it can be a problem by adding all the stress can bring. According to NPR revealed, “Over 40% [of respondents] reported that they’d gained weight since the epidemic. A quarter of respondents reported drinking more. About two-thirds of people sleep too much or sleeping too little.”
And then there’s COVID-19 itself. In January it was reported that the National Institutes of Health called for “increased studies into the underlying reasons for Long Covid and possible ways to combat the symptoms of COVID,” including neurological ones like headaches. “My head was like it was going to pop out,” one such patient reported to The CBC during April “and there was no medicine enough to alleviate the pain.”
Do you think it’s any wonder that your head is split? I’d be amazed that it didn’t. But, as I did you’ve become so used to the pain that you’ve accepted it. Let’s not. My recent migraine served as an opportunity to remind myself that it doesn’t need to be this bad before I start taking my own health seriously. And that stopping pain is a more peaceful experience than a full-blown neuro-degenerative meltdown on a weekend.
The effects of hormones, illnesses, vision issues, and the emotional burden of living through this time in history cannot always be managed. Naturally, those who experience persistent severe or other headaches must be evaluated by a physician. There are some fairly simple ways we can lessen the dangers of common headaches that affect so many of us, and many of which we already have experienced.
Here’s the most unassuming headache-blocking trick to reevaluate the amount of headache medication you’re taking.
According to The Mayo Clinic advises, get enough rest. Watch your caffeine consumption. Keep up an eating routine. Focus on stress reduction. These are the basic steps however there are other ways to reduce stress. Develop awareness of your personal triggers. Do certain foods trigger your anxiety? Do flashing or bright lights cause an issue? (That was the primary cause of my migraine.) However, here’s the most unlikely headache-blocking technique of all to think about the amount of medication for headaches you’re taking.
Utilizing headache medications, such as prescription medications like Acetaminophen, as well as prescription migraine medicines, “more than a couple of days per week” can trigger back headaches as per the Mayo Clinic. Harvard Health describes the problem as the “vicious cycle” which I’ve been a victim to when “the drugs that initially ease headache pain could cause later headaches in the event of using them frequently.”
The relationship between increased use and pain have also been the topic of discussion this week as an McGill University study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine warned that “clinical research has shown how the usage of anti-inflammatory medicines was linked to a higher likelihood of chronic pain which suggests that treatments for inflammation could have adverse impacts on the duration of pain.” The study was concentrated on back pain but the implications for other types of pain require further study.
I’ve been working hard lately to stay clear of another migraine that triggers four alarms anytime soon. Additionally, I’m working to make daily tweaks to avoid the typical headaches I’d thought I had to deal with and by turning off my laptop earlier in the evening, and getting up earlier. But the most important shift is looking to use the bathroom less frequently and hoping that less noises from the Excedrin bottle could, in the future cause fewer occasions I’ll be tempted to reach for it.
More information on the pain and ways to manage it: