Headaches – The Migraine
Part 1 of a 4 Part Series by Maryland Pain and Wellness
On lists of common pain the headache makes the cut. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Globally, it has been estimated that prevalence among adults of current headache disorder (symptomatic at least once within the last year) is about 50%. Half to three quarters of adults aged 18–65 years in the world have had headache in the last year and, among those individuals, 30% or more have reported migraine. Headache on 15 or more days every month affects 1.7–4% of the world’s adult population. Despite regional variations, headache disorders are a worldwide problem, affecting people of all ages, races, income levels and geographical areas.”
The headache can range from mild to severe and occasional to chronic. The WHO recognizes that the headache puts a heavy burden on health care facilities and costs. Since 2004 it has been involved in a global initiative with the NGO, Lifting the Burden in a campaign to raise awareness of headache disorders and improve the quality of treatments.
Headaches Are a Worldwide Concern
Populations in the United States and European Union appear to be most affected by headaches according to the numbers. The reported numbers can be attributable to data gathering methods throughout the world. This was shown when WHO and Lifting the Burden undertook a worldwide Atlas of headache disorders and resources in the world in 2011. It was a good start however as both organizations noted, the result that was most glaring was that there has been so little data, research and attention paid to this worldwide malady.
Types of Headaches
WHO lists headache types as:
- The Migraine
- The Tension-type headache (TTH)
- The Cluster Headache (CH)
- Medication-overuse headache (MOH)
Stanford Healthcare agrees with the first three classifications. They do not list the medication-overuse headache (MOH), but do list a 4th as Hypnic Headache, which they describe as a rare form mostly occurring in those aged 40 to 80 and exclusively at night.
Key Migraine Takeaways
Migraine headaches often begin at a young age and become life-long events. They are described by those afflicted as a “pulsating pain” lasting from hours to days. Attacks are often accompanied by nausea. The pattern varies by person and age from, daily, weekly, monthly to annual. Medical research has zeroed in on its origins and are still working on solutions. What is known is that deep within the brain pain producing inflammatory substances are released around nerves and blood vessels. According to JAMA Network Internal Medicine the cost burden of the migraine includes ”Migraineurs required 3.8 bed rest days for men and 5.6 days for women each year, resulting in a total of 112 million bedridden days. Migraine costs American employers about $13 billion a year because of missed workdays and impaired work function; close to $8 billion was directly due to missed workdays.”
Professional Evaluation and Treatment
Migraines have a direct and indirect costs on patients, missed work, bed-ridden days, and excessive spending on OTC pain medications. Thousands of dollars are spent for relief that is often temporary. Migraine sufferers often overlook a specialist in the field of migraines when seeking help, yje Pain Management Specialist.
Migraine sufferers should prepare for the next headache by making an initiative-taking plan and making an appointment with a local Pain Management Physician. A Pain Management Doctor will design a battle plan to prevent, lessen and relieve the pain of migraine headaches.