20 headache facts
Most of us get a headache or two now and then. Headaches can be stress-related, diet-related or hangover-related. Whatever the cause, headaches are a real pain.
[slider effect="slide" slideshow="false"]
1. Headaches in Australia
The majority of Australians throughout their life time will suffer headaches. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics survey in 1995, almost 15% of the Australian population were taking medication for headaches with higher prevalence in people aged between 25-44.
2. Rebound headaches
One can get a headache from taking too many medications too often. This is called a rebound headache. It will not go away until the person stops taking the medication entirely. Overdosing on paracetamol can also damage your liver and your kidneys.
3. Headaches in ancient times
The ancient Greeks and Romans used peppermint tea to treat their headaches. But that wasn't the only thing they used – they also drank infusions made from camomile, rosemary and lavender. They also applied raw potato, cabbage and onion to the head in an effort to relieve headaches.
4. Migraines are hereditary
Most children who get migraines, have at least one close family member who suffers from migraines as well. If a child has one parent who suffers from migraines, they have a 50% chance of getting them too, if both are sufferers, this rises to 75%.
5. Magnesium mitigates migraines
Migraine sufferers often have low magnesium levels. Several studies have shown increased magnesium as a potentially effective way to treat migraines in individuals with low magnesium levels.
6. Fasting can cause headaches
Fasting may cause headaches, as a fasting person is likely to have very low blood sugar.
7. Many things cause headaches
Many factors, such as stress, pollution, noise, smoke, flashing lights and certain types of food may also cause headaches.
8. Hormones and migraines
Migraines are related to hormonal fluctuations. Many women get migraines in the few days before the onset of their periods. Some women also get migraines during their menstrual periods. More women than men suffer from migraines.
9. The pill, headaches and stroke risk
Women who smoke and who are using oestrogen-based birth control pills, have a higher stroke risk than women who are not smokers and who take a non oestrogen-based birth control pill. When women change to a low oestrogen-contraceptive pill, the frequency of their headaches are also reduced.
10. Lifestyle the cure
Lifestyle plays an important part in preventing headaches. If you don't smoke, don't drink excessively, get regular sleep, eat a healthy diet and get daily exercise, you are unlikely to suffer from headaches frequently, unless you have a medical problem. [/slide_text]
11. Tension headaches the most common
Tension headaches can affect anyone and is the most common form of headache. Tension headaches are often the result of neck and shoulder muscles going into spasm, and can sometimes last for days.
12. Men get cluster headaches
More men than women suffer from cluster headaches. These are intense headaches that often occur at the same time every day or every few days. These are debilitating, but usually don't last longer than 90 minutes. People who are heavy smokers or drinkers often suffer from cluster headaches.
13. Hangover blues
Hangover headaches are largely caused by acetaldehyde, which replaces the glucose molecules in the brain. Those with hangovers also suffer from dehydration and low blood sugar. Those with hangover headaches should drink large quantities of water or sugared tea – not sodas or coffee, as these can cause further dehydration.
14. Blood vessels the culprits
Headache signals do not come from the brain, contrary to what many people believe. These pain signals are caused by interactions between the blood vessels, the brain and surrounding nerves. The pain comes from activated nerves around the skull, the blood vessels, and the head muscles.
15. A hole in the head
In times gone by, headaches were often thought to be the work of evil spirits, and rituals were performed to drive them off. In the Neolithic period, circular chunks of skull were removed in order to let the spirits escape. Oddly enough, people seemed to have survived these operations, as skeletons have been found that showed new bone growth around these holes.
16. Ice cream headaches no myth
Ice cream headaches are no myth – you really can get them from eating this frozen dessert. This is caused by blood vessel spasms, which are caused by the intense cold from the ice cream. The spasms interrupt the blood flow and cause the vessels to swell.
17. Steer clear of these triggers
There are certain foodstuffs and beverages that can trigger migraines in certain individuals. These include coffee, chocolates, yellow cheese, other dairy products, red meat, nuts, vegetable extracts, foods high in monosodium glutamate and alcohol. These are the most common triggers, but individual sufferers may respond to a variety of different foodstuffs or beverages.
18. CoQ10 reduces headaches
Deficiency in Coenzyme Q10, otherwise known as CoQ10, has been shown to cause migraines. Taking CoQ10 supplements, commonly known for their effectiveness in treating cholesterol problems and supporting heart health, may be an effective way to treat migraines according to the Mayo Clinic.
19. Kids get headaches too
Even children get headaches, some well before the age of ten. Before puberty, headaches are more common in boys. Adult women get headaches four times more often than men do, and these are linked to hormonal fluctuations. In both men and women, the severity and frequency of headaches decline with advancing years.
20. Even philosophers get headaches
The philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, suffered from debilitating migraines for much of his life – often two or three a week. Doctors today think the chances are high that he had a brain tumour which caused these migraines and that explained his reasonably early death at the age of 56. [/slide_text]
(Headache in Australia Statistics Source www.headache.com.au/faqs-stats.html)
Image via Thinkstock