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: approximately 12 million people visit doctors annually seeking 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?
A little investigating uncovers 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 12 years.
Advanced testing procedures are not without drawbacks though. They are expensive, can lead to additional and often unnecessary procedures (like biopsies) and increase exposure to radiation.
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 wellbeing. And that is why I created the Say Goodbye to Headaches class.
The challenge to living headache-free is three-fold: first to identify the type and classification of headache, secondly, the behaviors that contribute to head pain, and thirdly, 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. This class always garners some of the best follow-up responses from therapists when they head home to help their community. With 12 million sufferers in the country, I figure you must know a few you can help!