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There's Nothing Normal About a Headache

Posted on 3/12/2012 by Dr. Martha E. Rich
A business man pinches the bridge of his nose while he suffers from a headache I treat many patients who suffer from different kinds of chronic pain. For most of those people, headaches are a daily occurrence. But what's always interesting to me about these patients is the way they tend to categorize their headaches. When asked how many times a week they have head pain, the answers often sound something like this:

"Well, if it's a bad one, like a migraine – maybe once a month. The other ones I have pretty much all the time, but those are just my normal headaches."

Here's the problem with that statement: There is no such thing as a normal headache. You may have normalized the condition because you experience it so regularly, but it is not normal for the head to ache. Pain is your body's way of telling you that something is wrong, and headaches are no exception.

Some headaches, like migraines, can be complicated to unravel, and the ultimate source is often multifactorial. But many, many headaches are the result of simple oversights in caring for the needs of our bodies. Not drinking enough water or staring at a computer screen or video game for too long without stretching, for example, can trigger a headache that may last for hours. This isn't because we suffer from a lack of headache medicine; it's because our bodies were never meant to sit in one position for long periods of time or to go without water for hours on end.

Most headaches are not only easily treatable, they are easily prevented. And in order to help you identify and treat some of the most common types of headaches, this month we are launching a new resource series called The Headache Series. Each article will focus on one common cause of headache, ways to alleviate the pain without medication, and ultimately how to prevent these types of headaches from taking hold in the first place.

As we add more sections to this series in the coming months, I hope that you will continue to check in with us so that you may learn how to care for your body and keep your head as ache-free as possible.

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