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National Headache Awareness Week (June)

June 5-11th is recognized as National Headache Awareness Week. Each year the National Headache Foundation (NHF) sponsors National Headache Awareness Week to educate people about headache causes, impact, and help.

According to a recent survey conducted by the NHF, there are more than 45 million Americans who suffer from severe headaches and of these, 28 million suffer from migraines. There are about 150 types of headaches but some of the most common ones include tension, migraine, cluster, and sinus headaches.

Cluster headaches get their name because the attacks come in groups. The pain arrives with little, if any, warning and is usually on one side of the head. A tearing or bloodshot eye and runny nose on the side of the headache may also accompany the pain. Treatment for cluster headaches includes prescription medication and oxygen.

Generally, migraines begin as a dull ache and then develop into a constant throbbing and pulsating pain that you may feel at the temples, as well as the front or back of one or both sides of the head. The pain is usually accompanied by a combination of nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise. The cause of migraines is believed to be chemical reactions in the brain. Treatment for migraines may include over-the-counter or prescription medications as well as self-help techniques such as relaxation training.

Triggers for headaches vary among individuals but some things that can trigger a headache are:

  • Chocolates and nuts
  • Lack of sleep
  • Stress
  • Too much computer use
  • Glare from the sun
  • Change of weather
  • Strong odors
  • Noise
  • Perfumes
  • Menstrual cycle

To help prevent migraines a person needs to figure out which triggers affect them and which ones don't. Keeping a headache diary is an effective way to track triggers and the diary will give a person the ability to share this information with their healthcare professional to determine treatment.

For more information regarding this article contact the National Headache Foundation at www.headaches.org.

Article provided by Stephanie Monger, Intern from James Madison University working with Dana Breeding, RN Health Educator of Community Wellness at Augusta Health. To contact Dana Breeding, RN related to the information above, please call (540) 332-4988 or (540) 932-4988.