Headaches – Part 1

Part 2 – Migraines
September 2021 – Migraine Awareness Week

Dear World

WHY do some of us get headaches?

WHY are we suffering with headaches?

WHAT is going on that our head aches?

How bad are our headaches and have we noticed they are getting worse?

Have we noticed that the medication is not cutting it and now it’s affecting our Lifestyle?

Are we always reaching for the headache tablets?

Are we constantly living with some form of tension in our heads?

Are we so Stressed that headaches are like our normal now?

Are we using Solutions like our Caffeine and Smoking1 to keep those headaches buried?

Do we find we have an instant headache if we miss our morning Coffees?

Do we need Alcohol to relax and forget that our head is hurting?

Can we feel the intensity of the prolonged dull pain inside the core of our head?

Can we sense that our head aches more when we have had a bad night with not much Sleep?

Can we work out that our headaches continue when we choose not to Stop and override the pain we feel?

Do we know that worrying brings on the aching head that seems to get worse with our negative thinking?

Do we hate our headaches and see no way out of them and wonder if we just have to put up with them?

Do we accept headaches as normal as the masses all suffer with some form of head ache?

What is the meaning of headache?

What are the dictionary definitions?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Pain in the head (1)

Oxford English Dictionary (now Lexico)

A continuous pain in the head

Informal
A thing or person that causes worry or difficulty; a problem (2)

We have a definition that tells us we feel pain in our head.
Not sure what the informal bit of the Oxford English Dictionary is telling us but let’s take note – we are being told that something or some person out there causes us to worry or have difficulty – call it a problem.

Would it be easy for us to join the dots here and say that our head aches when we have a problem and that means we have an issue with something or someone?

Is there more for us to consider and not just take on board what the dictionary tells us?

Medical Definition of Headache

Headache or head pain sometimes can be difficult to describe but some common symptoms include throbbing, squeezing, constant, unrelenting or intermittent.
The location may be in one part of the face or skull or may be generalized involving the whole head.

The head is one of the most common sites of pain in the body.

Headache may arise spontaneously or may be associated with activity or exercise. It may have an acute onset or it may be chronic in nature with or without episodes of increasing severity.

Headaches are often associated with nausea and vomiting. (3)

Headache: a pain in head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the head (occipital) or in the back of the upper neck. Headache, like chest pain or back pain has many causes. (4)

Hello

Before we continue, let us look into what the medical definition is saying and explore it further by way of presenting some sensible Questions.

Where on earth is this throbbing coming from?
Where did it start and why are we not aware?
What is this squeezing feeling – like a compression?

WHY is the head aching constantly and what is it trying to Communicate?

What if our head – a part of our body is saying something by way of pain?

What if we make a conscious Commitment to not dismiss the What If questions?

What if we actually had something to do with WHY we get the throbbing or the squeezing in the head department?

What if there is a whole body intelligence that works in a natural way to not harm us but we cause the pain because we choose to live against this?

What if the unrelenting headache is because we are ignoring the subtle signals?
In other words, we start off with the odd one here and there, let’s call that intermittent and not long after they turn into the full whammy?

What if this unrelenting pain that is compressing our head is stopping the natural flow in which we are designed to be and live?

A side note which is relevant –
the word Compression has a meaning that tells us that there is a reduction in volume, which creates an increase in pressure of the fuel mixture in an internal combustion engine before ignition.

Let’s look at this in detail and for one moment suspend all ideals, beliefs and thoughts – in other words have some space to consider what is being presented.

What if we are a vehicle and that means our body enhouses the engine?

We need to fire up and that means ignite, so that the volumes can come through us. Let’s call those volumes multi-dimensional. In other words we get to bring through our body – our engine, the exact vibration and quality needed in the next moment.
In other words, whatever we need is there in an instant – like magic.

Important to note is that if we have not got the fuel mix right, we have problems.
Let’s say here that the fuel mix are Lifestyle Choices and a few examples are we are up Late, no proper Sleep quality, eating Junk Foods, drinking Alcohol, Smoking3, Vaping, busy with Social Media, Gossip or watching Television.

So we can now say that this fuel mix will stop the volumes coming through the engine, which is our body and this is what creates the increase in pressure.>

This increase in pressure will affect the Head Office – the department responsible for making the next step, the next move, so to speak.

What if the more we mess with the fuel mix, the more pain and pressure goes directly to the head department because this is the central go to point – HQ?

Example – We are unaware that we are drinking more Alcohol to alter our natural state, which is what this scientifically proven poison does to us. This extra amount of alcohol is no longer cutting it so we need More of the same or something else to give us the same numbing feeling. It is at this point where we may try Drugs or something else. It is at this point where the head department starts rejecting our fuel mix and this comes out as nausea or vomiting.

We could call this a chronic headache because it has become persistent and is constantly recurring because we have really got a fuel mix that is poison to the engine – our vehicle, our body.

Is this making sense?

Next – can a headache actually arise spontaneously or is it because we do not stop and pause and then reflect on our behaviour – call it our movements that led to the moment that we call ‘a sudden headache just came on’.

In other words, we negate and ignore the ‘fuel mix’ mentioned above, let’s call that our Lifestyle Choices. We then make movements that are ill and that means our behaviour is not taking responsibility and boom, before we know it we feel pain in our head.

Next – how serious is this next bit, really?

Headaches may be associated with activity or exercise.

Most of us think that exercise is good for the body, so how can it possibly be linked to pain in our head?

Could it be possible that excess exercise can create pain?

Back to the fuel mix – we have Lifestyle Choices that are going against our natural way of living and we need Solutions to fix us and one thing that we know is that exercise releases the chemicals in the brain that give us that feel good factor. We want more of it so many of us embark on more exercise when the body might be screaming out saying “NO this is Pushing way beyond what we can do”.

On another note, we could reflect on some of our activities that may be creating tension or a pain that we refer to as a headache.

Finally, to complete this commentary on the medical definition of Headache…

Could it be possible that the precise location of where the pain is when we have a headache is indicating a further message to us from our body, be it above the eyes or behind in the occipital region?

How are Headaches Classified

2013 – International Headache Society released its latest classification system for headache. Because so many people suffer from headaches and treatment is difficult sometimes, the Headache Society hoped that the new classification system would help health care professionals make up a more specific diagnosis as to the type of headache a patient has and allow better and more effective options for treatment.

The guidelines are extensive and the Headache Society recommends health care professionals to consult the guidelines frequently to make certain of the diagnosis.

There are 3 major categories of headache based upon the source of the pain.

  • Primary Headaches
  • Secondary Headaches
  • Cranial neuralgias, facial pain and other headaches

The guidelines also note that a patient may have symptoms that are consistent with more than one type of headache and that more than one type of headache may be present at the same time.

Medication Overuse Headache, previously known as rebound headache is a condition where frequent use of pain medications can lead to persistent head pain. The headache may improve for a short time after medication is taken and then recur. (3)

Primary Headaches are not associated with other diseases. Examples of primary headaches are migraine headaches, tension headaches and cluster headaches. (4)

While these headaches are not life threatening, they may be associated with symptoms that can mimic strokes. (3)

Secondary Headaches are caused by other diseases. The associated disease may be minor or major. (4)

Hello

Before we go any further, did we read that bit which says more than one type of headache may be present at the same time. (3)

So how is this possible?

How can we be diagnosed with more than one type of headache and do we have any insight as to what the answer is here?

Will our Solutions to fix us cut it or is our mode of operating in life to function, so we head for the OTC (over the counter) remedies, in the hope that thing – thudding pain inside our head will just dissipate and disappear?

What if like all Drugs, we may initially hit the target and get relief but soon after we are back to ground zero and the medication stops working, so we take more of the same or find a stronger medicine, forgetting totally that they ALL have side effects?

Is this WHY the classification above says The headache may improve for a short time after medication is taken and then recur. (3)

Is this making sense?

Next – how serious is it to note that Primary Headaches, the ones that are not associated with other diseases can be linked with symptoms that mimic strokes?

What if these symptoms albeit registering in the upstairs head department but are being sent from the vascular (heart) department?

What if that fuel mix mentioned earlier in this article has something to do with it?

It would be worth reading our blogs about the human Heart on this website and considering what is being presented by way of study for personal awareness?

Just because something is not life threatening does not mean we should ignore, negate or deny the impact it is having on the human frame. In fact, it would be wise to consider if these small signals, call them signs from our body communicating messages, lead to the life threatening illness and dis-ease, if we choose to override them when they are presented by our body.

What if our body has dis-ease because of how we are living our life?

What if we lack awareness of what is actually going on in our body because our fuel mix ensures we do not have a connection with our inner-most state of being?

What if our fuel mix puts our body out of sync and we bop around feeling stressed and creating even more stress as things are not in the flow zone?

At this point worth noting – read our blogs on Stress and Flow.

AND FINALLY to wrap up this section on the classification of Headaches, it is being stated that even a minor dis-ease in our body can cause what the professional guidelines term a secondary headache.

Does this mean that because some of us do not take things seriously when they are minor, or the masses see it as normal, we end up with a headache that could down the road lead to something more serious as we learnt nothing, changed nothing and we have no grasp of what, why, how and when the dis-ease came about?

90% of adults have tension headaches  (4)

Hello

What is this saying?

WHY are we not treating this as a 911?

Is this just a number or a statistic out there?

Could it be possible we are in this number?

How have we allowed this to continue today?

WHY have the majority of us just accepted it?

Do we need to get to the root cause of how and why we get headaches in the first place?

Do our reactions to life create pain in our head?

Do our daily Lifestyle Choices have a hand in it?

Does our behaviour, have something to do with it?

Are we being told it is normal to have headaches so we never bother to Question or dig deeper on this topic?

Have we noticed that the research studies are not up to date and there is not much out there really giving us proper answers about the real cause of why anyone gets a headache?

Is this WHY we have 90% of our adult population experiencing tension headaches?

Home remedies for tension headaches, the most common type of primary headache include rest and over the counter medications for pain. (3)

So we understand that 9 out of 10 adults have tension headaches and that means they are the most common.

A home remedy is rest and if we start with a dose of Honesty how many of us can actually do that – rest when there is the clock ticking with deadlines, the kids screaming, the errands to run, then this and that and all of life’s demands?

Could it be possible that an easy option to continue ‘business as usual’ which means no change, just carry on, is to get the OTC medications from the pharmacy?

Could it be possible that we hate the fact that these drugs are not giving us the relief we seek, but adding to the Stress of how we are living every day?

Could it be possible that we have not factored into our daily Foundation moments of STOP and pause and so rest is almost impossible as inside our body we are racing at 100 miles an hour and the thought of resting does not flag up as Priority in our life?

Scholars of the future take note – could it be possible that 9 out of 10 researchers today form part of the above statistic and when we suffer with any type of headache, we have a blind spot so to speak. In other words, we are not able to offer another dimension, another vibration that our future scholars will see as the norm.

Could it be possible that the researchers who have studies saying Caffeine works and Caffeine reduces headaches are not yet seeking the true answers that would end the sales in our headache medication industry?

Could it be possible that our scientists researching on our behalf are they themselves using Caffeine daily and so again we could consider if this would be a blind spot as mentioned above?

As Einstein quoted “The important thing is to NOT stop questioning
Worth clicking this hyperlink to read our magnificent blog called Questions.

Secondary headaches may result from innumerable conditions, ranging from life threatening ones such as brain tumours, strokes, meningitis and subarachnoid hemorrhages to less serious but common conditions such as withdrawal from caffeine and discontinuation of analgesics (pain killing medication). (4)

This highlights that a common condition, albeit less serious is withdrawal from caffeine. Before we go any further Simple Living Global have presented a forensic article on this website called The Real Truth about Caffeine.

It is an invitation for humanity and that means ALL of us, regardless of status to examine and consider everything that is being presented.

It will give the reader the stats and the facts and furthermore, it offers a line of questioning that gives us the choice to then re-consider our lifestyle choices where caffeine is ingested, as it is not just in our daily dose of Coffee.

To keep it Simple and relevant for this article – Caffeine is a drug that alters our natural state. So are we surprised that we have a side effect from this drug when we stop taking it and we call that caffeine withdrawal secondary headache?

Could it be possible that the effects of Caffeine are not public knowledge and therefore we are not equipped to make a true choice that would support our body?

Could it be possible that because Caffeine races up our nervous system we become more sensitive to everyone and everything, like a loud noise thumping in our head?

In other words, there is a heightened elevated un-natural state we are living and this means we are affected by even slight changes.

Could it be possible that because the withdrawal from caffeine creates such painful headaches, we go back on it as it seems the most comfortable option, even though we do know it is not good for us. The headaches when we stop caffeine is a giveaway – it tells us something is seriously wrong and caffeine is in no way of any health benefit, regardless of what claims are being made.

For the record – Caffeine is found in coffee and on that note coffee is the second most traded commodity in our world. Ponder on this deeply.

To complete the commentary on this section about secondary headaches, let us take note that this can come from the dis-continuation of pain killing medication, which are referred to as analgesics. So we use drugs to relieve pain and kill it so to speak but does it do the job and what about the side effects?

Of course pain killing medication has its place and supports us through a process in our body but if we are relying on it to the point where we need it to get through the day, then would it be a wise move to start with a line of questioning ensuring we first take a dose of Honesty. That means being very honest, with a candid approach to every single Question posed on this blog and all those referred to on this website.

The fact that we get what is termed as a secondary headache when we stop taking our pain medication is telling us SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT.

Many people suffer from “mixed” headache disorders in which tension headaches or secondary headaches may trigger migraine. (4)

Secondary headaches are those that are due to an underlying structural or infectious problem in the head or neck. This is a very broad group of medical conditions ranging from dental pain from infected teeth or pain from an infected sinus to life-threatening conditions, like bleeding in the brain or infections like encephalitis or meningitis.

Traumatic headaches fall into this category including post-concussion headaches.

This group of headaches also includes those headaches associated with substance abuse and excess use of medications used to treat headaches (medication overuse headaches).

“Hangover headaches” also fall into this category.
People who drink too much Alcohol can wake up with a well-established headache due to the effects of alcohol and dehydration. (3)

The treatment of any headache depends on the type and severity of the headache and on other factors such as the age of the patient. (4)

Mixed headaches are a combo and can trigger a migraine. More on this in depth will be presented in Part 2 next year.

We now have more insight that even a medical condition like dental pain from infected teeth can create a secondary headache. If we stop for one moment and click our blog on the website – Oral Health, we will be presented with some simple Questions and the facts, backed up by statistics. What is worth taking note of is that if we start taking care of what We Eat and drink, how we are looking after our teeth and gums, we could get confident in the knowing that we are not going to get headaches from teeth infections.

Let us for one moment consider the serious-ness of pain coming from our teeth, that feels debilitating at the time and that we may actually have a hand in how it got to that point in the first place. In other words, have we been missing the dental care twice daily for our teeth and gums and are we eating the types of foods that play havoc with our teeth and gums and then over time, this ignoring leads to a build up of bacteria that we call infection. Possible?

Next – Traumatic Headaches

How many times have we banged our head or had a great whack that has literally knocked us off our feet or headed that ball in a sports game and felt dizzy and out of sorts, but then acted like we are all ok and carried on ‘business as usual’?

What if our so called minor head incident was a post-concussion headache but we did not want to bother the medics or make a fuss, so we ignored it and put up with the sharp, dull or throbbing pain and soldiered on as that’s what normal people do?

Next – under the same category as traumatic headaches we are being told that this group of headaches also includes headaches associated with substance abuse. We could open up a whole conversation here but to keep it Simple, can we put our common sense hat on and say that any substance abuse is toxic poison ingested into the human body and of course this is going to have some adverse effect, which means a reaction? In this case it would be a type of pain in the head that is referred to as a secondary headache.

Could it be possible that the head department is saying “Get out mate, you are sending me all over the place and we cannot get our clear communication going with other departments like the heart department”. We then continue to bludgeon our body with more substances, call them Drugs and Alcohol and instead of addressing WHY we need these poisons, we seek a Solution to deal with the pain.

Next – excess use of medications used to treat headaches, also known as (MOH) medication overuse headaches is telling us that we take more of the same because something is clearly not working. We want results, we demand that this pain in our head just goes and never comes back. We are willing to pay the bucks, see the doc, get the strongest medication just launched by the pharmaceuticals with one goal, ‘get that thud and ache out of my head’.

Just a reminder here that our body will not play ball and let us get away with something that it is trying persistently to communicate to us.

So we get the headache and pop the pills and forget how, what, why and when this even happened. Before we know it we are having daily headaches and the Stress of life means we never stop to ask WHY we have a headache. We do know that it is very normal and that the masses all have headaches so what’s the big deal?

We send someone or drive down to the drug store, pick up our supplies and hope it’s all going to work like magic and our head is going to feel like it has space and not the tightness and pressure we keep sensing.

But the medication only works for a time period and then it all starts, but we reckon it is a stronger and more deeper pain. Now what?

More medication, double the dose, ignore what the warnings say about not taking an excess dose.

Then it continues and we just keep taking the meds and hoping for change, but no real change in the right direction.

Bingo, we are now hooked on these treatments for headaches and it is like we have even more tension and pressure and we have a constant internal state of un-settlement, which we call an irritation or agitation.

Right now, we would do anything to get rid of this loud throbbing that is overtaking our head but our only way out seems to be more medication.

Well it is official, we now have a headache that comes under a category and it has been created by our excess use of medications used to treat headaches. This is what they call MOH – medication overuse headaches.

Next – Hangover headaches also come under the secondary headaches’ category.

Well established means that we have known for a long time that when we drink too much Alcohol, the next day when we Wake Up, we have what is called a hangover.

How many of us say we will never do that again and find we are back to our old habits of drinking alcohol, albeit in the name of socialising or partying or a quick drink down the pub?

How many of us are aware of the side effects of alcohol and dehydration?

How many of us use Alcohol as a prop, a crutch in life to not take responsibility and we pretend it’s ok or it’s all going to somehow disappear and be ok in our lives?

What if there is more damage beneath the surface that is going un-detected when we drink a poison called alcohol? Have we ever considered that?

Does it suit us to carry on drinking alcohol as the masses do because going against the trend would make us stand out and look like we are not having a great time?

For the record, Alcohol is a scientific proven poison.
Simple Living Global have presented the facts and stats on this website which stands out because of the evidence-based research used by way of comments on that particular blog. The reader will be left in no doubt that absolutely no levels of alcohol are for human consumption. However, there are and there will continue to be for some time yet studies saying alcohol has health benefits.

A side note to scholars of the future – this website was launched in circa early 21st century. The author by way of enquiry found evidence, which stated the chronic debilitating effects of alcohol on the human frame. With this fact finding reporting the article specific to alcohol was expanded, so that readers would have a reference library and could from that stance make their own choice whether to continue ingesting a toxic poison or consider the line of questioning the blog presents.

NEXT –

Headache is also referred to as Cephalagia. (4)

Cephalagia is a symptom that refers to any type of pain located in the head.
There are over 150 types which can be divided into 2 large categories:

Primary and Secondary Headaches

90% of the total represent primary headaches.

Secondary headaches are a consequence of another illness that involves cephalgia and generally other symptoms.

The Brain

The brain never hurts but the pain is located in the membranes that surround it, known as the meninges where sensory terminals (nociceptors) of the trigeminal nerve are situated.

The trigeminal nerve has 3 branches that conduct sensations of the blood vessels in the interior and exterior of the

  • cranium
  • meninges
  • face
  • mouth
  • eyes

When it is activated by certain stimuli like Stress, food, smells and muscle strains, it sends messages to a cerebral nucleus called the thalamus, which is connected with other areas of the brain that manage the awareness of pain and its emotional response.

Other parts of the brain, like the hypothalamus or upper cervical nerves which pick up the sensitivity of the scalp, nape of the neck and neck can also activate both the nucleus and branch terminals of the trigeminal nerve.

All of these can cause symptoms that occasionally co-exist with the headache, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, yawning, watery eyes, nasal congestion and red eyes. (5)

Headache is defined as a pain arising from the head or upper neck of the body.
The pain originates from the tissues and structures that surround the skull or the brain because the brain itself has no nerves that give rise to the sensation of the pain (pain fibers). The thin layer of tissue (periosteum) that surrounds bones, muscles that encase the skull, sinuses, eyes, ears and thin tissues that cover the surface of the brain and spinal cord, arteries, veins and nerves can ALL become inflamed or irritated and cause headache.

The pain can be dull or sharp ache, throbbing, constant, intermittent, mild or intense. (3)

17 Types of Common Headaches

  • Primary tension headaches that are episodic
  • Primary tension headaches that are chronic
  • Primary muscle contraction headaches
  • Primary migraine headaches with aura
  • Primary migraine headaches without aura
  • Primary cluster headache
  • Primary paroxysmal hemicrania (type cluster headache)
  • Primary cough headache
  • Primary stabbing headache
  • Primary headache associated with sexual intercourse
  • Primary thunderclap headache
  • Hypnic headache (headaches that awaken person from Sleep)
  • Hemicrania continua
  • (headaches that are persistently on one side – unilateral)
  • New daily-persistent headache (type of chronic headache)
  • Headache from exertion
  • Trigeminal neuralgia and other cranial nerve inflammation
  • Secondary headaches due to:

Trauma

Disorders

Infection

Substance abuse or withdrawal

Structural problems with the bones of the face, teeth, eyes, ears, nose, sinuses or other structures. (3)

 

Global Burden of Disease Study

The significance of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) studies for recognition of headache as a major public-health concern cannot be overrated.

1.9 billion people affected by tension-type headache
2016 (6)

WHY is this single statistic not front-page news headlines all over the world?

WHY have our so-called advanced intelligence not yet found the root cause and nailed it so we do not walk around with a tension-type headache?

WHY have we all sat back, said nothing, done nothing, accepted this like it is normal and sought Solutions to function in life, which clearly robs us of our natural pain-free way of living?

WHY do we not have true People Health Education?
On this note, please read our very informative blog on this exact topic.

WHY have we stopped and taken our foot off the pedal and not continued with our enquiries and questions into what constitutes a head ache of any kind and where it stems from in the first place?

WHY has our world of research not got on the front foot, so to speak and got ahead of the game so we do not have billions with headaches but the whole world up in arms if one person or a small group happen to have an aching head?

  • Imagine our life without headaches?
  • Imagine a world living without pain?

As we are all living sciences, our human body is well worth studying.

What if we had independent research into those who have zero headaches and can consistently demonstrate Another Way of living that allows that?

In other words, people like the author of this blog who do not have tension as they have a way of living that ensures they never get to the point that brings on a pain of some kind in the head or neck region.

All this commentary may sound way off and whacky or it may come across as some wise words for those who are genuinely in search of Another Way to Live.

The point is we had 1.9 billion people back in 2016 affected in some way by a tension type of headache. That is a lot of people and today we are in 2020 so what is the real and accurate statistic, if we are to be honest?

Headache Disorders
World Health Organization

Key Facts

  • Headache disorders are among the most common disorders of the nervous system.
  • It has been estimated that almost half of the adult population have had a headache at least once within the last year.
  • Headache disorders, which are characterized by recurrent headache are associated with personal and societal burdens of pain, disability, damaged quality of life and financial cost.
  • Worldwide, a minority of people with headache disorders are diagnosed appropriately by a health-care provider.
  • Headache has been underestimated, under-recognized and under-treated throughout the world. (7)

So let’s pay attention here – The World Health Organization is telling us that headaches are one of the most common disorders of the nervous system.

How many of the population know much if anything about the nervous system, what role it plays in the human physiology and that Caffeine races our nervous system?

What would happen if the WHO insisted on each and every one of us being educated where we receive the facts and stats and have those who live headache free for a decade or more present questions and practical advice and see where that leads to…?

What if we carried out real life research studies that involved the general public out and about in daily life and observed them and their movements and collated data in this way to see what unfolds…?

What could we learn if we stopped testing on rats and mice and used humans instead in real life situations tracking their every movement?

What would happen if we stopped all double-blind testing and hypothesis and more research and more research and put all our Focus into finding out the root cause of something that is affecting most of us – Headaches?

What if we stopped producing studies for journals that only some of us have access to and even if we did, the majority would not understand the intellectual jargon?

What if we instead just made it our business to only read real life studies and that includes any citizen reporting on the street stuff happening in our neighbourhood and communities? We call this Citizen Journalism and our blog on this topic is well worth reading at this point.

AND Finally, the World Health Organization tells us that headaches have been underestimated, under-recognized and under-treated throughout the world.

Hello

WHY?

HOW come it is underestimated and not recognized?

HOW on earth have we allowed it to get to this point?

What are Headache Disorders?

Headache disorders, characterized by recurrent headache are among the most common disorders of the nervous system. Headache itself is a painful and disabling feature of a small number of primary headache disorders, namely migraine, tension type headache and cluster headache. Headache can also be caused by or occur secondarily to a long list of other conditions, the most common of which is medication-overuse headache.

How Common are Headache Disorders?

50% globally – prevalence among adults of current headache disorder.

50% – 75% adults worldwide aged 18 – 65 have had headache in last year.

Up to 4% of world population have headache on 15 or more days every month.

Headache disorders are a worldwide problem, affecting people of all ages, races, income levels and geographical areas.

Headaches are painful and disabling.

Headache disorders impose a recognizable burden on sufferers including sometimes substantial personal suffering, impaired quality of life and financial cost. Repeated headache attacks and often the constant fear of the next one, damage family life, social life and employment. The long-term effort of coping with a chronic headache disorder may also predispose the individual to other illnesses. For example, anxiety and Depression are significantly more common in people with migraine than in healthy individuals. (7)

For the Record

Migraines are a form of headache where it becomes a recurrent throbbing affecting one side of the head, often accompanied by nausea and disturbed vision.

More on the topic of migraines specifically in Part 2 of this article.
September 2021 – Migraine Awareness Week

Types of Headache Disorders

Tension Type Headache (TTH) 

  • TTH is the most common primary headache disorder.
  • Episodic TTH occurring on fewer than 15 days per month is reported by more than 70% of some populations.
  • Chronic TTH occurring on more than 15 days per month, affects 1-3% of adults.
  • TTH often begins during the teenage years, affecting three women to every two men.
  • TTH mechanism may be stress-related or associated with musculoskeletal problems in the neck.
  • Episodic TTH attacks usually last a few hours but can persist for several days.
  • Chronic TTH can be unremitting and is much more disabling than episodic TTH.
  • Tension type headache is described as pressure or tightness, often like a band around the head, sometimes spreading into or from the neck.

 

Cluster Headache (CH)

  • A primary headache disorder.
  • CH is relatively uncommon affecting fewer than 1 in 1000 adults, affecting six men to each woman.
  • Most people developing CH are in their 20s or older.
  • It is characterised by frequently recurring (up to several times a day) brief but extremely severe headache, usually focused in or around one eye with tearing and redness of the eye, the nose runs or is blocked on the affected side and the eyelid may droop.
  • Cluster Headache has episodic and chronic forms.

 

Medication Overuse Headache (MOH)

  • MOH is caused by chronic and excessive use of medication to treat headache.
  • MOH is the most common secondary headache disorder.
  • 5% of some populations suffer with MOH – women more than men.
  • Medication overuse headache occurs by definition on more days than not and is oppressive, persistent and often at its worst when waking up.

Social and Economic Burden of Headache

Headache disorders are a public-health concern given the associated disability and financial costs to society. As headache disorders are most troublesome in the productive years (late teens to 50s), estimates of their financial cost to society – principally from lost working hours and reduced productivity are massive.

UK

25 million working or school days are lost every year because of recurrent throbbing headache known as a migraine.

The financial cost can be matched by tension-type headache and medication overuse headache combined.

Headache is high among causes of consulting medical practitioners. 

33% of all neurological consultations were for headache.

Most people rely on over-the-counter medications. (7)

The social and economic burden of headache is staggering and may bring on a head ache for some of us as we worry about this stuff.

We first have the dis-ability, which stops us operating in life. This means our ability to continue doing what we want and when we want is dis-abled because we have this troublesome pain in our head region.

How serious is this when we are told headache disorders are prevalent from late teenage years to 50s?

What happens during these stages of life?

What is the true cost to society lost from productivity and working hours?

Are we seeing a rise in migraines because it is the impact of the odd headache ignored, which then leads to more? Our Solutions to fix it are not working, then our fuel mix the thing we call Lifestyle Choices are adding to it, then we have that modern day word everyone is using called Stress and bingo we have intense pain and it’s to the point it has to be called a migraine, as we know that’s far worse than your average head pain, what we call a headache.

One small country in our world – a microcosm showing us that 25 million working days, which include time off school days are being lost every year because of those intense headaches we call migraines.

Could we say that this micro is reflecting to us on a macro (world) level what is going on globally?

The fact that the majority of us consult a medical practitioner about a headache tells us that we are not just relying on OTC – over the counter medication or that advice about rest at home.

Treatment

Appropriate treatment of headache disorders requires training of health professionals, accurate diagnosis and recognition of the conditions, appropriate treatment with cost-effective medications, simple lifestyle modifications and patient education. (7)

Simple Lifestyle – coming out soon on this website

The main classes of drugs used to treat headache disorders:

  • Analgesics
  • Anti-emetics
  • Prophylactic medications
  • Specific anti-migraine medications

Barriers to Effective Care 

Lack of knowledge among health-care providers is the principal clinical barrier.

Worldwide

4 hours only of undergraduate medical education dedicated to instruction on headache disorders. (7)

40% of people with tension type headaches are professionally diagnosed

10% only are professionally diagnosed with medication overuse headache

Poor awareness extends to the general public

Headache disorders are not perceived by people as serious as they are mostly episodic, not contagious and do not cause death.

The low consultation rates in developed countries indicate that many affected people are not aware that treatments exist.

50% of people with headache disorders are estimated to be self-treating.

Governments seeking to constrain health-care costs, do not acknowledge the substantial burden of headache on society.

The direct costs of treating headaches are small in comparison with the indirect cost savings that can be made – for example: reducing lost working days if resources were allocated to treat headache disorders appropriately. (7)

The lack of knowledge among those in health care who provide the service is the first road block. It should then come as no surprise as to WHY we, the general public have little or no knowledge about headaches.

The fact that only 4 hours is given to undergraduates in medical education worldwide speaks volumes. It would be fair to say that headaches are simply not seen as something important compared to all the life threatening illness and disease that is now prevalent.

The fact that the medical profession has poor awareness and that extends to the public is rather shocking, but we do not have to accept that or react. We could simply use a line of questioning as this blog and all others on this website does to find out more and that means we start to open up and have awareness.

The fact that we do not perceive headaches as serious because they are not 24/7 and we do not die from them is a gross negligence on our part.

The fact that governments are spending public funds elsewhere and not acknowledging the substantial burden of headaches is telling us that we ought to now consider taking matters into our own hands and finding Another Way.

What if we wake up and see this as a Real 911 Emergency?
Just because a thumping head is not going to kill us does not make it ok.

We as a world do not take the pain in our head seriously and if we did, it would be all over the News and the Media would inform the public by way of education. Instead we find a plethora of ill ways to harm the human frame and we keep going until our body has an accident, illness or disease that stops us in our tracks.

While we wait in line for treatment or see a health practitioner to give us the answer for our head-ache, we could start with considering ALL the Questions and the wisdom presented in this article.

The author does not ever claim to be medically trained or hold anything that this world recognises as Intelligent but they do have the ability to shine a light on matters of Health and Wellbeing that humanity (All of Us) may benefit from being aware of.

World Health Organization Response

These evident burdens call for action.

WHO recognizes this and is a partner with the non-governmental organization Lifting the Burden in the Global Campaign against Headache.

This initiative commenced in 2004 and aims not only to raise awareness of headache disorders but also to improve the quality of headache care and access to it worldwide.

WHO published the Atlas of Headache Disorders in 2011 describing the burden due to headache disorders and resources available to reduce them. (7)

Global Campaign Against Headache

The Global Campaign against Headache aims to reduce the burden of headache worldwide, achieving this by working with local policy-makers and principal stakeholders to plan and implement healthcare services for headache, ensuring these are appropriate to local systems, resources and needs.

The Global Campaign against Headache, led by Lifting the Burden is a collaboration between the World Health Organization, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and individuals worldwide.

The Department of Neuroscience at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) functions as the academic base of the campaign and academic partner to Lifting the Burden.

Objectives

  • Know the size and nature of the headache problem in all regions of the world;
  • Persuade governments and other health-service policy-makers among others that headaches must have higher healthcare priority;
  • Work with local policy-makers and principal stakeholders to plan and implement healthcare services for headaches, ensuring these are appropriate to local systems, resources and needs. (8)

While we wait for answers and Solutions or reach for the latest drug that the pharmacy is promoting OTC (over the counter), let us consider if there is Another Way because we do know Nothing is working.

Our current model of human life has failed us.

Let us no longer sit and wait around as our time is up and we know that because illness and dis-ease is off the scale and our body is telling us so.

Part 2 – Migraines
September 2021

 

 

 

References

(1) (n.d). Merriam-Webster. Retrieved October 16, 2020 from
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/headache

(2) (n.d). Lexico. Retrieved October 16, 2020 from
https://www.lexico.com/definition/headache

(3) Wedro, B., Taylor, D.C., & Marks, J.W. (n.d). Headache. MedicineNet.
Retrieved October 18, 2020 from
https://www.medicinenet.com/headache/article.htm

(4) Shiel, W.C. (n.d). Medical Definition of Headache. MedicineNet.
Retrieved October 18, 2020 from
https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11396

(5) Fabregat i Fabra, N., & Obach Baurier, V. (2018, May 16). What is Cephalagia? Clinic Barcelona.  
Retrieved October 18, 2020 from
https://www.clinicbarcelona.org/en/assistance/diseases/cephalalgia/definition

(6) Stovner, L.J., Nichols, E., Steiner, T.J., & Vos, T. (2019, November 7). Headache in the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Studies. Springer Link.
Retrieved October 16, 2020 from
https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-030-24728-7_9

(7) (2016, April 8). Headache Disorders. World Health Organization.
Retrieved October 16, 2020 from
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/headache-disorders

(8) (n.d). Global Campaign Against Headache. Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
Retrieved October 16, 2020 from
https://www.ntnu.edu/headache

 

 

 

 

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Comments 1

  1. Thank you for this comprehensive and remarkable blog on headaches.

    A couple of weeks ago I had a headache for five days following an accident at work which resulted in me experiencing a concussion.

    In the accident, my head was struck by a large plate glass door which swung back unexpectedly after having had a new self-closing mechanism applied to it. After about an hour, a headache began which worsened over time. Later that day I went to hospital and was examined by a doctor who informed me that I had a concussion.

    The doctor told me the concussion was mild so I could return to work the next day but I would have to manage the pain by taking 2 paracetamol a day, four times a day.

    I went to work the next day, taking the painkillers as prescribed – it was an extremely difficult day.

    I feel that there is a reason for everything and everything is significant, so I had to ask myself – why did the accident happen? I came to a conclusion and, following a conversation with a friend, I realised there were three main reasons:

    1. I am too much in my head and therefore not listening to my body and heart.
    2. I needed to stop because I was exhausted.
    3. Because I had not been listening to my body and heart, I had received a warning (the accident) that a serious correction is required in my life.

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