It’s been a busy day. You have juggled a million things and now your head is throbbing with pain. But you probably pop a painkiller and carry on, because you have too many things to do. Headaches are one of the most common neurological diseases. Most of us get at least one headache a year, for a variety of reasons. And mostly, we just try to deal with them ourselves.
Research in Singapore finds that even when it comes to super-painful types of heachaches like migraines, most sufferers just try to tough it out. Studies at Duke NUS Medical School found that migraine affects up to 10 percent of the population in Singapore (that’s around 330,000 people), with about 100 new patients added every month at the Headache Services referral clinic at the National University Hospital (NUH).
Some of these migraine patients felt such bad pain they had to take days off work – yet one in four of them did not seek any medical treatment for their headaches. Dr Jonathan Jia Yuan Ong is President of the Headache Society of Singapore and Consultant, Division of Neurology, National University Hospital explains. He explains, ‘They often suffer in silence. For those who do try to manage the condition, they typically resorted to acute medications which may not be the most effective strategy in the long term, adding to their overall healthcare costs”
Headaches remain one of the most under-reported and unrecognised disorders. ‘When it comes to pain, many women feel that they just have toi put up with it. Women often do not realise that things can be better’ says Professor Lauren Sanders, a neurologist and Co-Secretary of the Australian and New Zealand Headache Society.
Professor Sanders notes that it is common for women to call their headaches, ‘normal’ – but this can backfire and make the underlying condition worse.
She says, ‘Headaches may just be the result of a stressful day at work. But they indicate your body is out of balance and needs attention. And for people with a primary headache disorder such as migraines, physiological, mental or emotional stress will all increase the chances of your body responding with a headache.’