Headache – causes, prevention and treatments

Headache – causes, prevention and treatments

The World Health Organization tells us that headache disorders are “underestimated, under-recognised and under-treated throughout the world.”

Headache disorders mainly affect people in their most productive years from young adulthood to late middle-age. 

Migraine and Headache Australia estimates that over 6 million Australians are affected by these conditions. As well as the distress caused to affected individuals, headache disorders cause significant costs to society. As Headache and Migraine Australia notes, headache affects a large percentage of the Australian workforce and costs dearly in absenteeism and lost productivity.     


As the name suggests, a headache is pain experienced in any part of your head. 

There are actually over 200 different types of headache. You may have throbbing or stabbing pain or simply a dull ache. Your symptoms may last minutes, hours or days. You may have long intervals between episodes or they may come one on top of the other. 

A doctor will aim to determine the type of headache you’re experiencing. That involves asking you about when your headaches usually occur, how long they last, the location and severity of the pain and any other related symptoms. 

As far as causes go, we talk about primary and secondary headaches. A secondary headache means the headache is caused by something else, such as:

  • Sinus congestion
  • A short-term illness like a cold, the flu or an ear infection
  • A head injury
  • Dental problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Side effects of medication
  • Dehydration

Primary headaches, on the other hand, occur on their own. They are the whole problem, all by themselves. Common primary headaches include:

  • Tension headache: These feel like a tight band around your head and are commonly caused by stress, eye strain or emotional distress. 
  • Cluster headache: As the name suggests, these come in clusters. They cause a severe burning or stabbing pain on one side of the head, often behind one eye.

“It’s just a headache!”

Because everyone gets the occasional headache, most people underestimate the impact of intense and frequent headaches. People who live with chronic headaches may find themselves in the difficult position of educating their employers, family and friends about the real impact of headache disorders on their life.

Making adjustments at work may be necessary. That can include adjusting seating and lighting, managing noise levels, taking regular breaks and stretching to release stiffness or tension.

Managing headaches  

Managing headaches can be a trial-and-learn process of finding the right blend of pharmaceutical and lifestyle changes to reduce the frequency, severity and duration of your symptoms and improve your quality of life. 

That may involve: 

  • Understanding what triggers your headache and avoiding those triggers as much as possible (e.g. diet, environment, stress levels, sleep quality and hydration)
  • Keeping a diary to help you spot any patterns
  • Taking prescription or over-the-counter medications to prevent headache or relieve symptoms.

As with any ongoing condition, it is important to follow your doctor’s advice. Your doctor has access to your full medical history and is best placed to advise you on which treatments are most likely to help you. 

If you experience a headache, consider trying Pain Relief Naproxen Liquid Capsules from the makers of Deep Heat for convenient, fast-acting relief in the form of soft gel liquid capsules. Feel it work for up to 12 hours, helping you to get on with your day.