Women will often joke that the main cause of their headaches is the men in their lives, but in reality, the cause is more likely to be something else.
Of course, there are physical reasons which can lead to both men and women suffering from headaches. Infections such as root canal issues and the flu as well as viral and bacterial meningitis can result in debilitating headaches.
While women may report to suffering more headaches during the menopause, there is no medical correlation between the two. This could be attributed to women over 50 finding themselves in the ‘sandwich generation’. Not only are they responsible for decisions in their own household, they are often looking after older parents and trying to help their children set out on their own. A change in blood circulation (which can also affects men over 50), can also be a contributing factor.
Headaches can also be the result of a fall. Head injuries, especially amongst the elderly, can often go undiagnosed if there is no external mark as indication. Dr Selvaratnam suggests regular, gentle activity, which keeps the mind and body responsive as being one of the best ways to combat falls. Having witnessed his father suffering a head injury only served to reiterate that maintaining a good balance was vital. “Many community health centres offer balance programs – often free of charge – for older adults. Not only is this a good way to stay active, but it also offers a social outlet for those who may be lonely”, says Dr Selvaratnam.
Migraines are more than just more painful headaches and many people claim to have a migraine when they do not. There is a set criterion to define a migraine and if you suspect that the pain you are suffering is more than a headache, then one of the many headache centres around Australia can offer assistance and support. Migraines should not be brushed off lightly – just ask the 11 per cent of men and 22 per cent of women who suffer migraines. Triggers for migraines include:
- work stress
- day-to-day factors
Associated symptoms include nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, numbness and affected vision. Although there is no cure for migraines, treatment does include trying to eradicate the trigger.
Thanks to Dr Peter Selvaratnam, Melbourne Spinal & Sport Physiotherapy
Headache, Orofacial Pain and Bruxism
Peter Selvaratnam, Ken Niere & Maria Zuluaga
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