It’s hard to find a person who has never had a headache. Headache is one of the most common health problems that we have to face from time to time.
Headache in numbers
Data from the International Headache Society (IHS) show that the prevalence of all types of headaches is 93% in men and 99% in women. The type of tension headache is 69% in men and 88% in women. If we combine data on all types of headaches, the prevalence is 93% in men and 99% in women. Unfortunately, headaches are also common in children, up to 78% of them suffer from headaches at the age of 6-15 years.
Tension headaches are a technical term for the classic, most common headache that we all know well. This type of pain is usually bilateral, weaker, dull, often associated with fatigue and exhaustion. Stiff neck muscles may also be present.
There are a number of triggers for tension headaches, the most common of which include, for example:
Stress or expectation of a stressful situation (even joyful)
Insufficient drinking regime
Sleep changes (sleeping on weekends, lagging while traveling)
Irregular eating, fasting, or excessive amounts of food
Migraine is characterized mainly as a severe unilateral or alternating throbbing headache, often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. In addition, migraines are characterized by increased sensitivity to light, sounds, or smells. In about a fifth of people suffering from migraine, the attack itself is preceded by the so-called aura (flickering, vibration in the field of vision).
The most common migraine triggers include:
Travel by train or plane
Consumption of certain foods and beverages (alcohol, mature cheeses, chocolate, pickles, artificial sweeteners, ice cream, glutamate…)
Strong smells, sounds, or light sensations
In women, migraine may be associated with hormonal changes (pregnancy, menstruation, use of hormonal contraceptives).
Treatment of headaches
In addition to taking medications (over-the-counter for short-term relief and prescription medications for the treatment of chronic problems), lifestyle changes (elimination of stress, diet changes, adequate physical activity) and elimination of observed individual triggers for recurrent headaches are recommended. .. Psychotherapy, relaxing exercises, physiotherapy, activities. biofeedback.
When do I need to see a doctor for a headache?
You should consult a doctor for a headache in the following cases:
With sudden severe pain, you have never experienced before.
If the pain began to manifest itself after 50 years.
If the pain is associated with a head or spine injury.
If the pain occurs after physical exertion.
If the pain is very severe, it continues to intensify and does not subside even after taking painkillers.
If a severe headache is accompanied by an increase in body temperature, excessive drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting.
With neurological symptoms (paralysis, disorders of speech, consciousness, and balance, epileptic seizure).
If you also suffer from high blood pressure.
When a headache significantly restricts normal daily activities and personal life.
How can a pharmacy help with a headache?
With an acute headache from mild to moderate, self-medication with over-the-counter medications are usually enough. Treatment without consulting a doctor should be short-lived, because, with excessive use of analgesics (3 or more tablets a day more often than 10 days a month), you can achieve the exact opposite effect and cause headaches caused by medications that are not easily treatable. treat at all.
Treatment of acute headaches is based on single-component preparations containing paracetamol or ibuprofen in various dosage forms, from tablets, syrups, and suppositories to special forms for a faster onset of action, usually labeled “RAPID”.In addition to single-component analgesics, drugs are used in combination with headaches, for example, with caffeine to enhance the action of paracetamol or guaifenesin to relax stiff neck muscles and relieve mental tension.
Other medications suitable for headaches
In the case of nausea, which usually accompanies migraine, in addition to painkillers, an analgesic (prokinetic) can be used. Medications that relieve muscle tension help with headaches with a feeling of stiffness in the cervical spine.
With recurring stress-related headaches, rely on magnesium, which helps reduce fatigue and exhaustion and generally supports the psyche.