With media reports as prevalent as they are for headaches, you’d think there must be an increase in people affected. That turns out not to be true. In the United States at least, the statistics have held pretty steady over the last decade.
The most recent statistics, released in 2016, show that 22.1% of females and 10.1% of males report living with pain, with approximately 12 million people visiting doctors annually for relief from headaches. At least one-quarter of that group suffers from severe chronic tension or migraine headaches.
So, why the increase in reported headaches then?
It turns out there are two reasons:
- Advanced diagnostic machines;
- A more informed and assertive patient population.
Those two factors have led to a doubling of tests being performed in the last 10 years.
Advanced testing procedures are not without drawbacks though. They are expensive, can lead to additional and often unnecessary procedures.
And it turns out maybe not the best course of action.
New research has shown that lifestyle changes often have the biggest impact on reducing the incidence of headaches, and particularly those associated with sleep. According to one study, for example, 50% of people reporting chronic migraine headaches also disclosed poor sleep habits. A change in sleep habits made a significant difference for these subjects.
Scientists now believe that it makes sense to approach headaches first from a self-care strategy, leaving a medical consultation as a follow-up in the event that lifestyle changes aren’t the solution. I agree with that line of thinking; most – not all – but most headaches result from habitual practices that sabotage our well-being. And that is why I created the Say Goodbye to Headaches class.
The challenge to living headache-free is two-fold: first to identify the behaviors that contribute to head pain, and secondly, find agreeable substitutes for those behaviors.
In the Say Goodbye to Headaches class, attendees learn how to help clients to identify their headache triggers from a list of nearly 70. They learn how to coach clients in creating lifestyle changes they are willing to make and how to offer a hands-on reflexology session designed specifically for that client.
I hope you will join us at an upcoming workshop. With 12 million sufferers in the country, I figure you must know a few you can help!