08 August 2006

Headache defined

How common are headaches? And who tends to get them?

Almost everyone suffers from a headache from time to time. Most headaches are infrequent and transient annoyances that disappear with the help of an analgesic or other pain killer. But for one person in ten, a headache is an excruciating experience that might herald some serious disorder.

About 15% of the population have headaches severe or frequent enough to consult a doctor. In fact, headache is the most common cause of pain that prompts patients to consult their GP. Even children get headaches, some well before the age of ten. Before puberty, headaches are more common in boys.

In adults, headaches are four times more prevalent in women and often linked to hormonal fluctuations. In both sexes the frequency and severity of headaches decline with advancing years.


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Headache expert

Dr Elliot Shevel is a South African migraine surgery pioneer and the founder and medical director of The Headache Clinic in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, South Africa. The Headache Clinic is a multidisciplinary practice dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of Primary Headaches and Migraines. Dr Shevel is also the main author of all scientific publications generated by his team. He recently won a high level science debate in which he was able to prove that the current migraine diagnosis and classification is not based on data. Tertiary Education - Dr Shevel holds both Dental and Medical degrees, and practises as a specialist Maxillo-facial and Oral Surgeon. Follow the Headache Clinic on Twitter@HeadacheClinic.

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