Did you know that this week, the 6th to the 13th of September, is Headache and Migraine Awareness Week? It’s an initiative driven by Headache Australia (a division of the Brain Foundation), which is the only Australian organisation that aims to support the over 5 million Australians affected by headaches and migraines.

Chronic headaches and migraines are more prevalent than many of us realise, impacting millions of Australians every day. Unfortunately, like many chronic pain conditions, its invisibility can mean a lack of understanding and a lack of awareness as to how serious this pain and associated symptoms can be.

For some sufferers more serious headaches, known as migraines, can include symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, numbness in hands and feet and sensitivity to light, sound, smell or touch. For some people these symptoms can strike rarely, or up to several times a week. Aside from migraines, other forms of chronic headaches include cluster headaches, nerve headaches and head injury headaches, all of which can trigger challenging symptoms and serious pain.

There are many different types of headaches with many different triggers, which can include food, medication, alcohol, allergies, dehydration as well as headaches and migraines that are the aftermath of an accident.

Because the triggers can be so varied, it can be challenging for sufferers to figure out what could be causing them and how best to treat it, or what to avoid in order to prevent them in the future.

How can you manage headaches or migraines?

To assist sufferers Headache Australia outlines some tips for self-management of your headaches:

  1. Take Responsibility for your Headache
Your Doctor can provide medical insight and your friends, family and colleagues can provide support, but only you know your body and your headache. You are the one who can take action towards headache management, avoid triggers and learn more about your headaches to better understand and manage them.

  1. Keep a Headache Diary
Keeping a Headache Diary includes recording what you do, eat and drink, your hormonal cycle, medications you’re taking and changes in your environment. Over time this detailed monitoring can help to identify patterns that could be leading to your headaches.

  1. Identify and Avoid Precipitating Factors
A precipitating factor or trigger is something that may bring on headaches, which can include stress, hormones, food and dietary factors, alcohol, environmental factors, bright light, physical exertion, as well too much or too little sleep. It’s important to identify these over time and avoid these as much as possible.

  1. Work with your Doctor/s
It’s important to find the right health professionals to work with, and work together with them as a team to identify causes and treat symptoms where possible. This should be a partnership which evolves over time as you learn more about your headaches.

  1. Plan ahead and help yourself as much as you can
As you learn more about your headaches, you may be able to feel these coming on and adjust as much as possible to avoid triggering them. You can adopt lifestyle changes, and ensure that you do as much as possible to keep yourself healthy.

When should you consult a Doctor about headaches or migraines?

The ABC has this advice, which has been review by the Brain Foundation when it comes to medical advice for headaches. You should seek medical for a headache if:
  • It is your first, different or more severe headache than any previous one you have experienced;
  • Occurs during or after exertion or exercise;
  • Comes on suddenly;
  • Comes after you’ve suffered a blow to the head;
  • Seems to be associated with pain in the eye or ear;
  • If accompanied by any of the following symptom: neck stiffness or pain, with or without fever, weakness in your arms or legs, speech difficulties, dizziness confusion, fits or convulsions.


What if your headaches or migraines are the result of an accident or injury?

Unfortunately, headaches can be a common and persistent problem after acquiring a brain injury, which can sometimes be the result of an accident and related injury.

In our line of work we unfortunately see the aftermath of accidents that occurred on our roads, at work, in public places, and so many others. Tragically these can often leave victims with headaches and migraines as an ongoing symptom. These can be as a result of acquiring a brain injury, or due to nerve damage or related injuries to the neck, head or spine.

While we cannot undo the damage, or resolve the medical issues, our team can assist in claiming for expenses for this and the future impacts this will have on you and your life. Should you wish to discuss something like this further, you can speak to our friendly expert team at any time by chatting us, calling us or submitting any form on our website.

This conversation is free and there is zero obligation or pressure to pursue a claim. Our team will simply advise you of what your options are and what they believe your best course may be.

Unfortunately, many Australians live with headaches and migraines, and for some these occur often and impact many areas of their lives – including their ability to work, drive and socialise. Because of the ‘invisibility’ of headaches, sufferers can struggle to communicate their severity and others around them, including employers, may take these less seriously than more ‘visible’ illnesses and injuries.

This week it’s important to understand how devastating and affecting these can be, and help fight the stigma that can surround those who experience headaches and migraines.

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