LAHORE – Of all medical conditions causing pain and disability, headaches are the most common, affecting daily lives of many people worldwide. A thorough understanding of types, causes, specific symptoms and management is essential for both the patient and the healthcare provider.

This was stated by Dr Faisal Amin, a researcher from Danish Headache Centre, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, while delivering a lecture at the University of Health Sciences (UHS) on Tuesday. The lecture was organised jointly by the UHS and the National Academy of Young Scientists. A large number of postgraduate students and faculty members attended the lecture.

Dr Amin said that headaches without evident cause presented an often puzzling situation in diagnosis, treatment and understanding by both the afflicted individual and the physician.

“These primary headache disorders are often overlooked and misunderstood as ‘acceptable’, frequent maladies which should not affect work”, he said, adding, that though not life-threatening, these headaches could affect quality of life.

Explaining the primary headaches, he said these types of headaches included migraine, tension and cluster headaches.

Tension headaches are the most common type of primary headache and upto 90 per cent of adults have had or would have tension headache, he said. He further said that tension headache occur most commonly among women.

Dr Amin said that in this type of headache, one feels like a tight band around his head. It usually causes mild to moderate pain on both sides of the head and it may be triggered by stress, neck strain, depression or anxiety. It can last from 30 minutes to 7 days.

These types of headaches can be easily treated with over-the-counter medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen, etc., or through meditation or massage.

Migraine affects three times more women than men. It is accompanied by nausea, vomiting or increased sensitivity to light or sound. It usually affects one side of the head and typically last from 4 to 72 hours, he informed adding that its treatment was aimed at relieving symptoms and preventing additional attacks.