Headache more common in the city



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Escaping the city helps to relieve headaches

Headaches are one of the most common symptoms in Germany and therefore represent a health problem that should not be underestimated. A total of around 54 million Germans say that they have had headaches in the course of their lives. As a result, around 17,000 people suffer from headache problems on average every day.

According to the German Migraine and Headache Society, headaches and migraines cost around 2.3 billion euros annually. In Germany alone, pain medication is administered in over three billion individual doses each year. Around 85 percent of the medicines are taken due to headache symptoms.

Stress as a trigger for headache symptoms
“Stress is one of the most common triggers for headaches. It is increasingly being discussed whether our lifestyle, the constant availability of each individual for private and professional matters and the fact that work is densely concentrated in many places make us sick and lead to more headaches, ”says Dr. Lecturer Dr. Stefanie Förderreuther, neurologist and general secretary of the German Migraine and Headache Society (DMKG). A long-term study, which was carried out in cooperation with the DMKG and in the journal "Journal of Headache and Pain", showed that statistically more people in cities with a population of 50,000 or more suffer from headaches than volunteers who live in rural regions.

City lifestyle is more likely to cause headaches
The study was conducted between 1995 and 2009. Large-scale consumer surveys were held each year, involving approximately 16,000 to 18,000 people. One question related to the frequency of headaches. Over the years, the proportion of headache sufferers ranged from 58 to 62 percent. The researchers could not see a rising trend between the years. However, a clear difference could be discovered: "People in the city are more likely to have a headache than people in rural areas." According to the headache expert, Förderreuther, this could be due to "different lifestyles". Those who suffer from headaches more often could find a possible cure in the country. Calmness and the seclusion from the stress in the big city could certainly work.

No east-west difference
Another result of the long-term study was that women had an average headache of 67.3 to 70.7 percent more often than men (up to 54.3 percent). The scientists could make no difference between federal states or regions. There are also no differences between the East German and West German countries. (sb)

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