Festive season stresses that can lead to headache

Social commitments, entertaining and online shopping are among the leading causes of headache in the pre-holiday season, found a new survey from OnePoll, funded by Nurofen.

Adding to the woes, lack of sleep is also a key trigger for a headache and migraine to start, as well as dehydration and a noisy environment, all things that can be difficult to avoid in the thick of festive season.

As many as 8 out of 10 people in the UK have occasional tension-type headache, the one we think of as ‘ordinary’ or ‘everyday’ headache, with 49 percent of people reporting an incidence of headache over a 12 month period, and around 20 percent of people suffer migraines, according to the survey.

No matter when headache hits, the new findings indicate that some people are unsure how to best treat them, or choose not to, and therefore potentially suffer unnecessarily.

Many people do as little as possible to treat their pain with almost half (47%) simply taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to a headache or choosing to ignore it in the hope it gets better. When they do treat a headache, up to three quarters of people are not completely satisfied with how quickly pain relief kicks in or how long it lasts for.

In addition, the survey revealed that headaches not only impact the sufferer in regard to pain but also have an impact on their sex life (50%), mood (79%) and even their ability to do activities they enjoy, such as playing with their children (71%).

“Headache can have a considerable impact and I see a spike in the number of people suffering over the festive period. Often by the time people come to the pharmacy, it’s when they are really suffering,” said Fin Mc Caul, managing director of Prestwich Pharmacy and Fellow of Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

“It is important to understand your pain and to know that you can address it early rather than just seeing if it will go away or not. There are a range of pain relief options available that can reduce headache, so you can get back to your day. If you are unsure, seek advice from your pharmacist to help you find a good option.”

Nurofen, over-the-counter pain medication from Reckitt Benckiser, is the leading analgesic brand in Europe.