Headache awareness

Facts about headaches

Headaches cause more employees to miss work than any other single cause. They are so common that researchers have divided them into two categories, primary headaches and secondary headaches:

Primary headaches

Primary headaches also are known as tension headaches. Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. It is estimated that nearly 90 percent of Americans will experience a tension headache at some point in their lives.

Migraines are the second most common type of headache. It is estimated they occur in nearly 12 percent of the American population. Although primary headaches can be extremely painful, they are not life-threatening.

Secondary headaches

Secondary headaches are a result of structural problems in the head or neck. These headaches can be caused by a number of medical conditions, including tumors, meningitis and encephalitis.

Secondary headaches can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.


Headache treatments

If you have been diagnosed with migraines or a type of secondary headache, medical attention may be required for pain relief. If you suffer from tension headaches, there are many over-the-counter treatment options available to you.

Certain non-prescription medications have been proven effective, including:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen

Other alternative therapies have also been proven to give some sufferers relief, including:

  • Acupuncture
  • Biofeedback
  • Massage therapy
  • Reflexology
  • Yoga and other relaxation exercises

We recommend these resources for additional information about headaches:

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