Headaches are one of the most common and frustrating health problems Americans face today. For many, headaches are just a nuisance. They come and go, but do not detract too much from the person’s quality of life. These people often use rest, ice, and anti-inflammatorys (NSAIDs) as treatment.
For others, however, headaches are either so painful and frequent they need to be treated more intensely, or they are indicative of a more serious problem. If constant headaches are bringing you down, making sleep difficult, distracting you at work, and causing pain, please contact our experts to see if we can help.
Stress Is on the Rise
A study by the American Psychological Association (APA) provides a snapshot of stress and its impact. In a survey of more than 2,500 Americans, more than half felt more stressed in 2008 than the previous year. The report also shed light on the physical and emotional toll. Stressed respondents reported feeing irritable and angry, lying awake at night, losing motivation and energy, and having frequent headaches, among other symptoms.
“Most of today’s stressors are mental, not physical,” says Jacquelyn Ferguson, stress management coach and author of Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain and Simple. You can either outrun a life-threatening tiger, or not. Either way, the situation and associated stress get resolved quickly. Mental and emotional stress, on the other hand, have a way of sticking around and slowly, invisibly wearing you down.
The Stress-Headache Connection
Migraines, headaches, and stress are all hard to measure and difficult to treat. On a physical level, headaches start when the nerves and blood vessels around the head send pain signals to the brain. Stress is often a key player, though lack of sleep, anxiety, even changes in the weather can also trigger headaches and migraines.
About 95% of headaches are primary headaches, meaning that they occur on their own, independent of any other underlying condition. Despite the tendency to assume the worst at 2 a.m. when your pounding cranium won’t let you sleep, the majority of headaches are simply headaches. This knowledge can provide both relief and frustration. Headaches, after all, cause real suffering, and not knowing how to tackle them makes matters worse.Why MIPainRelief?