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Headaches: When there’s a fight going on in your head…

… And it seems like everyone’s been invited to join in the punch up, life can be highly unpleasant. Over ten million Brits are estimated to suffer from headaches every year, and like the common cold, the misery you suffer never seems to be enough to convince your employer that you shouldn’t be at work.


Millions of us ring in sick every year complaining of migraines when really all we have is a headache. A migraine is a virtually disabling condition, whereas a headache is simply unpleasant, but they’re nasty nonetheless and should be taken seriously, both by you and your employer. Lost productivity due to a headache whilst at work that would have been better off being treated with a day’s rest is ultimately a false economy for everyone.

Fortunately the vast majority of headaches aren’t serious and are usually the result of unwise lifestyle choices such as dehydration from not drinking enough fluids or too much alcohol the night before, or other factors like not getting enough rest or work-related stress.

In fact, tension headaches are the most common, inflicting a dull ache around the head with no specific area of intense pain.

What are cluster headaches?

You may, however, find that you have a headache that results in intense pain surrounding one eye: This is known as a cluster headache and causes immense pain. Their name comes from the way people seem to get these types of ache: They come in clusters for a couple of months around the same time every year. Whilst there are no known medications to help with this nasty condition, there are other non-prescriptive solutions, so seeing your doctor will be worth the trip.

Secondary headaches are those which are caused by a specific external factors like a hangover, concussion, taking too many painkillers, menstruation, contraceptive pills or pregnancy, Again, see your doctor as there are always non-prescriptive solutions as well as medicinal aids to help you through.


Children and teenagers

When it comes to children and teenagers, you can expect them to get one serious headache a year on average, although their experience is different to that of an adult so it’s often hard to spot the problem. Stomach aches often go hand on hand with headaches in kids, and they tend to start and finish more abruptly than they do with adults. Obvious tips like making sure your child has enough sleep, food and hydration can sometimes still be overlooked by the most attentive parents, although many parents are unaware that sport can also induce headache as well, which kids are made to do at least a couple of times every week with millions more playing football and other games in their spare time as well.

Generally speaking if your child has a headache it’s advisable to lie them down in a dark room with a cool, moist cloth across their forehead and eyes, and then encourage them to breathe deeply, eat something without caffeine and get some sleep. Longer term, keeping a headache diary is also worthwhile, which is a great way to identify headache triggers: You may find it’s a particular type of food or drink, or if it’s more than one type you can compare the ingredients to see if they have any in common. This is the kind of analysis that only you and your child can carry out, as your doctor can’t be present all the time: You may need to do much of the work yourself.

The good news is that serious headaches are hardly ever indicative of anything serious: It may feel as though your brain is about to explode, but statistically-speaking the hemorrhage you think is about to take place inside you or your child’s head is purely a product of your imagination.





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