6 Surprising Facts About Headaches

Most sufferers never seek treatment.

Headaches and migraines are a huge problem worldwide. Approximately 12 percent of Americans have regular migraines. Of migraine sufferers, only 20% currently use preventive therapy. Most are solely reliant on over-the-counter medications.

Oftentimes, people who do seek professional help are met with a lack of understanding by their doctor. Headaches are widely misunderstood by many health practitioners. For a lot of people, their first treatment is unsuccessful and they don’t seek out additional help. All of this leads to a small percentage of people receiving help for a widespread problem. This leads us to fact #2.

Many healthcare providers are under-trained.

Worldwide, on average, only 4 hours of undergraduate medical education is dedicated to instruction on headache disorders. Medical schools averaged only 1 hour of preclinical and 2 hours of clinical headache teaching.

A large number of people with headache disorders are not diagnosed and treated. In fact, only 40% of those with migraine or tension headaches are professionally diagnosed.

In the United Kingdom about 25 million work/school days are lost every year because of migraine alone.

This number is even greater when looking at tension type headaches and other kinds of headache. In a Global Burden of Disease Study, updated in 2013, migraine on its own was found to be the sixth highest cause of years lost due to disability. Headache disorders collectively were third highest.

Headache disorders are a public-health concern due to the associated disability and financial costs to society. As headache disorders are most troublesome in the productive years (late teens to 50’s), estimates of their financial cost to society – principally from lost working hours and reduced productivity – are massive.

Your problems don’t end when the headache ends.

Globally, it has been estimated that 50% of adults get headaches. 50-75% of adults age 18–65 years old have experienced a headache in the past year and among those individuals 30% or more have reported migraine.

Headache disorders impose a recognizable burden on sufferers including substantial personal suffering, impaired quality of life and financial cost. Repeated headache attacks create constant fear of the next one which damages family life, social life, and employment.

The long-term effort of coping with a chronic headache disorder may also predispose the individual to other illnesses. For example, anxiety and depression are significantly more common in people with migraine than in healthy individuals.

Increasing treatment for headaches decreases the cost of missed work days substantially.

A 2003 study showed that headache was the most common reason for missed productive time at work (5.4% of those in the study lost productive time at work due to headache over only a 2 week sample). A 2003 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated the annual cost in lost productive time due to pain to be $61.2 billion. Of that 61.2 billion lost, headaches were the most prevalent reason.

Employers might not recognize that the direct costs of treating headaches are small in comparison with the huge indirect savings that might be made (eg, by reducing lost working days) if resources were allocated to treat headache disorders appropriately.

Despite all of this, funding for further headache research is seriously lacking.

In 2015, NIH funding for migraine research was just $0.50 per sufferer.

All that being said, it’s time to get help.

At ChiroFit, our treatments are research based and provide great clinical results. The amount of people walking around with chronic headaches/migraines is an unfortunate side effect of our lifestyle and employment options. In most cases, headaches are not a life sentence. If you or anyone you know suffers from frequent headaches or migraines please send them in. The resolution of headaches can be a life changing experience for anyone who has had to deal with them on a weekly (or daily) basis. Call us at 847-382-3194 and ask us how your first visit can be complimentary in exchange for a canned food donation.

P.S. – Stay tuned for parts 23 and 4 of our headache series where we dive into how we fix these problems.


  1. “Headache Disorders.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, Apr. 2016. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
  2. “Statistics from the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study.” National Headache Foundation. NHF, 8 Apr. 2011. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
  3. Stewart, Walter F., PhD, MPH. “Lost Productive Time and Cost Due to Common Pain Conditions in the US Workforce.” The JAMA Network. N.p., 12 Nov. 2003. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
  4. “The Cost of Pain to Business and Society Due to Ineffective Pain Care.” The American Academy Of Pain Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

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