Welcome to WHA Website
The World Headache Alliance (WHA) was founded to reduce the burden of headache disorders throughout the world, in particular, by sharing information among headache organisations and by increasing the awareness and understanding of headaches as a public health concern with profound social and economic impact.
WHA is a global alliance of almost 40 national headache organizations from nearly 30 countries worldwide. Please check out the Organizations we’ve created alliances with.
Why Focus on Headaches?
Those who have truly suffered from severe headaches know how disabling a headache can truly be. Likely, everyone in the world has suffered a minor to severe headache at least once in their life and can understand how difficult it can be to continue to carry out simple daily tasks, opting to attempt alleviate the pain by sitting quietly in dimly lit areas, taking a short nap, and taking over-the-counter pain medications. For typical headaches that everyone has experienced, the suffering is usually mild and short lived, as doing things like drinking lots of fluids for hydration and taking aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen are usually all it takes to subdue the pain.
But what about individuals who suffer from more severe headaches?
For individuals who suffer from severe headaches on a regular basis, life can be disabling at times. The unfortunate thing individuals who face severe headaches is that they may not be able to determine the frequency of the severity of the headache. Some individuals may suffer from headaches a few times a year while others may experience headaches multiple times a week, with timing ranging anywhere between thirty minutes to a few days. Most headaches are unpredictable, with the triggers absolutely unknown, causing life to be miserable and insufferable at times. For those who don’t suffer from regular and frequent sever headaches, it may be difficult to understand the struggle of living with pain. But for those who suffer from regular pain brought on by severe headaches, it can become disabling during an episode.
What kinds of headaches are there? There are a variety of headaches one can suffer from. Here are a list of various headaches individuals could suffer from:
- Tension Type Headache: This is the most common form of headache that likely everyone has suffered from at one point in their life. It has been referred to, additionally, as a “normal headache” or an “ordinary headache.” Most people who experience the tension type headache will feel a pressure buildup in their entire head, although some people may experience the pressure on one side of their head. The headache itself can last anywhere from thirty minutes to a few days. Triggers for this sort of headache include, but isn’t limited to, a change in diet, lack of proper hydration, change in environment, or current mental state. Treatment for such headaches can be found in any drug store or pharmacy. However, depending on the frequency of headaches and how often an individual may find that they need to take an over-the-counter medication may lead to future problems, so consult with a doctor before taking too much medication too often.
- Chronic Daily Headache: Chronic daily headaches occur 15 or more days in a month. These sorts of headaches tend to be dull, but are classified by their ever-presence. For some individuals, the headache never goes away, but the severity levels go up and down throughout the day and night. As of yet, there is no official diagnosis but is solely classified by its omnipresence.
- Migraine: Migraines are a disorder, for which suffers experience attacks or episodes anywhere from a few times a year to a couple times a week. Migraines are an inherited disorder and is as common as 1 in 7 adults. Symptoms include a severe headache, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, and sound sensitivity. Very rarely do over-the-counter pain medications aid in relieving the pain, so many individuals who suffer from migraines need a stronger prescription pain medication, taken in a dark or dimly lit room in complete silence. The most severe migraines will last a number of days, leaving sufferers feeling physically ill, unable to carry out their daily tasks.
- Cluster Headache: This is the least common form of headache. Sufferers experience an incredibly severe one-sided head pain, typically in or around the eye. What is unusual about this sort of headache is that sufferers will feel these sorts of pains numerous times a day at the same times for a time span from 6 to 12 weeks, although it may vary from case to case. The pain is short lived, about 30 to 60 minutes, and the attacks happen at the same time every day during its onset.
- Hormones and Headaches Although there is no definitive scientific proof that there is a link between hormones and headaches, there is a definite connection that cannot be ignored. Many women feel the onset of headaches during certain cycles and hormonal changes in their bodies. With research, we hope to find a definitive reasoning behind this.
Why Should We Care?
Although some people tend to just dismiss headaches, for many individuals, the severity and frequency can be completely disabling. Headaches are considered to be neurological disorders in some cases and completely disabling in others. With proper research, we can discover the source and triggers of headaches, and hopefully see an end to headaches worldwide!
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Want to learn further about efforts to end headaches worldwide? Check out our global campaign, Lifting the Burden, and learn what strides have been made to ending headaches once and for all!
I Suffer From Headaches, What Can I Do?
Most people tend to dismiss their headaches as just a headache, unaware that they may have something a bit more serious. If you find that you’re headaches are occurring more frequent or have become more severe, beware of continuing to relieve your symptoms with over-the-counter medications, as taking too much could cause damage to your body or you could develop an immunity to the medication over time. If you find you’re experiencing more headaches, you should:
- Consult your doctor: Although it’s a good idea to research some possibilities for your symptoms, do not self-diagnose yourself. The more information you can provide for your doctor, the better they’ll be able to determine what you’re truly suffering from. Many sufferers of headaches keep a Headache Diary to present to their doctors for accuracy. Additionally, keep track of any and all changes that may have occurred in your life recently.
- Drink lots of fluids: Many headaches are the result of dehydration. Make sure you’re drinking lots of water as a natural way of relieving your symptoms before going straight for over-the-counter pain medications.
- Use a hot or cold compress on the pain: Hot and cold can really aid in relieving painful symptoms brought on by headaches. Sitting quietly with hot or cold compresses will help alleviate the symptoms brought about from headaches.
News & Articles
There are a lot of new studies and emerging research in regards to headaches. Additionally, various organization and WHA are making great strides in finding an end to headaches all together! Keep up to date on all topics covered in the media in regards to the mission and aims of WHA. Some of the top stories include:
- Drug management of headache disorders
- Managing chronic headaches
- Headache linked to other disorders
- IAPO 3rd Global Patients’ Congress
- Greek headache sufferers join WHA