There is such a frequent and familiar sound in my house that I know it as if I knew the key to the door had been pressed. It was the soft squeaking sound of the opening of the medicine cabinet, followed by the rattle of a large bottle of pills. At least one person has a headache in my house several times a week. Do you have a headache while reading these words? Your chances are good.
In April, a report by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and published in The Journal of Headache and Pain reported that “daily, 15.8% of the world’s population suffers from headaches and almost half of them have migraines (7)%.” That’s 1.1 billion headaches today. ” As the study’s lead author, Lars Jacob Stovner, said in a press release, “the prevalence of headaches remains high worldwide and different types of stress can affect many people.”
“Every day, 15.8% of the world’s population suffers from headaches, and almost half of them suffer from migraines.”
Over the years, I have had headaches, so I didn’t think much of them. I am hungry and eating. I’m tired and rested. I have a headache and I drink Excedrin. Days go by like that, don’t they? However, on a very sunny recent afternoon, I found myself among people who suffer from 7% of migraines every day around the world. I closed my eyes and wept softly at the local Target snack bar, remembering that one condition was common and could not be managed necessarily or easily.
Over the past year, more than half of us have had headaches, and Northwestern medicine reports that they are “more common, longer-lasting, and more common in women.” We also suffer a lot from migraines. It’s not just COVID-19 that has taken acetaminophen off the shelves, it’s our head.
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But does the headache really get worse, or does it always feel that way under our tense face? The authors of a Norwegian study of 357 publications are cautious in drawing their conclusions. They note that “headaches remain very common around the world” and that they have “noticed a marked increase in the prevalence of migraines,” but that “there are big differences between the results of the study.” For example, the population, which is more aware of migraine diseases, reported their prevalence, not surprisingly.
But it seems indisputable that we are creating a lot of headaches everywhere. We usually spend more than twelve hours a day on our device, staring at text and breathing blue light. We eat a lot of caffeine – 93% of us drink it at least occasionally, and 25% of those who have fun drink it three or more times a day.
Probably a factor as to why they’re doing so poorly. A 2019 study by Ball State University found that 35.6% of respondents slept less than seven hours a day, with police and paramedics sleeping five to six hours a night. These numbers have not improved in the last two years – a HealthDay survey earlier this year said one-third of respondents were now more tired than at the start of the pandemic. And 28.5% said they slept less.
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This leads us to a pandemic in the room. A 2021 study by the American Psychological Association found that nearly half of those surveyed now experience more stress than in previous years. Stress alone can cause headaches, but then you can let go of everything that causes stress and aggravate the problem. NPR reported, “More than 40% [of respondents] they said they gained weight during the pandemic. Nearly a quarter said they drank more. Almost two-thirds sleep too much or too little. ”
Then there is COVID-19 itself. In January, the National Institutes of Health called for “intensifying research into the underlying causes of Uzak Covid and possible ways to treat his symptoms, including neurological disorders such as headaches.” “I felt like my head was going to explode,” one such patient told CBC in April, “There is not enough medicine to improve it.”
Is it weird that your head explodes? Otherwise I would be surprised. However, perhaps you, like me, are so used to the disease that you have normalized it. Let’s not come. My recent migraine, before I took my well-being seriously, warned that disease prevention wasn’t much more intrusive than a neurological catastrophe over the weekend.
Hormones, disease, vision problems, and the legitimate psychological burden of this moment in history cannot always be controlled. Of course, persistent, intense, or other headaches should be evaluated by a physician. But there are some very simple steps we can take to reduce the risk of typical headaches that afflict most of us, many of which we know.
Here’s the least-expected headache-blocking trick – reconsider how much medication you’re taking to treat your headache.
Get enough sleep, as advised by the Mayo Clinic. Focus on your caffeine intake. Exercise and follow a regular diet. Work to reduce your stress. These are the basics, but there are others. Develop awareness of your personal triggers. Do some foods seem to wake you up? Is bright or flashing lights a problem? (This was the main culprit of my last migraine.) But here’s the least anticipated headache-blocking trick – reconsider how much medication you are taking to treat the headache.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the use of over-the-counter headache medications, including acetaminophen, as well as prescription migraine medications, can cause headaches “more than a few days a week.” Harvard Health describes this problem as a “vicious cycle” in which I became a prey when “the same headache-relieving drugs, if used too much, can cause subsequent headaches”.
While a McGill University study in the journal Science Translational Medicine warned this week that “clinical data have shown that anti-inflammatory drug use is associated with an increased risk of chronic disease,” concerns about the link between overuse and disease progression led to headlines this week. Anti-inflammatory treatment can adversely affect the duration of pain. ”The study focused on low back pain, but its consequences for other types of disease require further investigation.
I have recently been doing my best to prevent four more migraines. I turn off my laptop a little early in the evening and work on simple daily routines to avoid the usual headaches I thought I would go to bed early. But the biggest change is that I try to open the medicine cabinet less now, hoping that the Excedrin bottle will ring less and somehow I don’t want to reach for it over time.
Learn more about the disease and how to treat it: