As many as 8 out of 10 people have occasional tension type headaches from time to time, and 1 or 2 out of 10 people suffer migraines
The most common headache is tension-type headache; the one we think of as ‘ordinary’ or ‘everyday’ headache. Tension headache tends to be mild to moderately severe and affects both sides of the head. It usually feels ‘pressing’ or ‘tightening’ and is not affected by routine daily activities.
Migraine is a moderate or severe throbbing headache affecting one or both sides of the head and made worse by ordinary daily activities.
Less common causes of headache: These include cluster headache (a severe or very severe pain around and above the eye), headache from overusing pain killers (affecting about one to two out of 100 people), inflamed blood vessels, and raised pressure inside the head (for example from a bleed or tumour).
Although headaches can severely affect your life, they’re rarely serious or life-threatening. Most get better by themselves, often within 24 hours.
It may be possible to ease your symptoms by making a few simple changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Try lifestyle changes first, but if these don’t work alone, you may wish to try treating with medication. There are a variety of products available to treat the headaches and migraines many of which can be bought from a supermarket, shop or pharmacy.
Avoid taking painkillers for headaches for more than 10 to 15 days per month.
Seek medical advice if over the counter treatments don’t relieve your symptoms, or if you find it difficult to get on with your daily activities or go to work. Also speak to a health professional if you notice any of the following:
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