Fatigue, stress, noise: one in two French people frequently suffer from headaches

Fatigue, stress, noise: one in two French people frequently suffer from headaches

Even mild headaches can be bothersome, even incapacitating, on a daily basis. And many French people are concerned by this pain which can be frequent. According to a recent survey, nearly one in two people say they often suffer from it, and when this happens a majority still does not consider it legitimate to give up certain tasks, at home or at work.

While certain headaches can be the result of a serious illness, so-called tension headaches remain the most common forms. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), almost half of adults have suffered from at least one common headache during the year. Although most headaches are mild, they are no less annoying on a daily basis. “Headaches place a real burden on those affected, sometimes with significant personal suffering, an impairment of quality of life and a financial cost. Repeated attacks, often accompanied by constant apprehension of the next painful episode, undermine family, social and professional life”, underlines the health authority.

Fatigue blamed

A survey carried out by Toluna Harris Interactive for RTL-l’Observatoire Santé PRO BTP looked at the frequency and symptoms of these headaches in Europe, as well as the means used to prevent and treat them. It appears that the French actually suffer from numerous recurring pains, whatever they may be, including back pain (65%), muscle aches and tensions (56%), joint pain (51%) and headache (49%), just before stomach ache (40%). If we look specifically at headaches, women experience it more than men, at 56%, as do young people (62% of 25-34 year olds), and parents (62%).

In the eyes of respondents, fatigue is the main cause of these headaches (34% cite it first), ahead of stress (15%), noise (11%), time spent in front of screens (10%). and, to a lesser extent, menstruation (5% of women cite them first), consumption of alcohol and tobacco (5%), and light (4%). Note that parents (76%) and those aged 35-49 (76%) are the most likely to blame fatigue or lack of sleep, while those under 35 think, at 44%, that their headaches are caused by the time they spend in front of screens.

Note that recent work, carried out with 50 participants aged 20 to 31, revealed that the neck muscles, and in particular their inflammation, could be involved in primary headaches, including tension headaches and migraines. “Our results support the role of neck muscles in the pathophysiology of primary headaches. Therefore, treatments that target neck muscles could lead to simultaneous relief of neck pain and headaches,” the authors concluded. of this study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

The little-used doctor

Unlike other types of pain, headaches do not seem – or rarely – to be the subject of medical consultations. On the contrary, the French favor self-medication in multiple forms and rest. When they suffer from headaches, respondents turn to non-prescription medications purchased in pharmacies or that they have at home (43%), rest (40%), and simply wait for the situation to subside. -themselves (25%), use prescription medications that they have kept following a previous treatment (17%), avoid screens (16%) or turn to plants or homeopathy (10%) . In the end, only 6% of the panel said they go to a doctor to benefit from treatment.

Result to be compared with the fact that the French consider themselves well informed about the different means intended to treat a headache (62%), and that they even consider that headaches are well taken into account within the company (61%). Paradoxically, only 47% of respondents consider it legitimate not to work or not to do household chores when they suffer from headaches.

*This survey was carried out online, from November 16 to 20, 2023, with a sample of 1,015 people representative of French people aged 18 and over.