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Heading for a Headache

Whether it comes from the stress of your holiday travels, too much time with family, or even just tension or sinuses – the throbbing ache of a headache can leave just about anybody tired, frustrated, unable to concentrate, or downright grinchy.

If you’re like most people, the first solution might be reaching for something to help relieve that discomfort as quickly as possible. Across the country, more than 29 million Americans use over the counter painkillers (including brands like Advil, Motrin, and Aleve) on a regular basis to treat a variety of conditions including their headaches.

What you might not realize are the dangers associated with routine consumption of these readily accessible drugs. Research has shown you could be increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke in just a few weeks of use, particularly if you already suffer from high blood pressure or a family history of heart conditions.

To learn what’s causing headaches for most Americans today, we surveyed 2,000 people across the country about the everyday occurrences they deal with in life, and how often those things left them rubbing their heads in frustration.Want to know what might be bringing you down and some healthy alternatives for relieving the pain? Read on to see what we discovered.

Biggest Nuisances Across the U.S.

While there are serious medical conditions that can lead to some of the more severe forms of headaches, there are everyday annoyances that can add up to the reason why you might reaching for those pain relievers.

According to nearly 1 out of 10 Americans we surveyed, getting stuck in traffic was the biggest contributor to their headaches. Across the country, the average person spends 42 hours each year sitting in traffic – nearly two full days – and in major metropolitan cities like New York (89 hours) and Los Angeles (104) that number can increase exponentially. Following congestion on the roadways, Americans we surveyed told us two more reasons they were rubbing their temples – work and personal finances. Some of the most simple and easy to correct issues at work could be causing you to pile on stress which can lead to a number of health concerns including those annoying headaches.

Whether you’re on your way into the office or stuck in an airport terminal, health experts have some natural alternatives to help relieve the pressure you might be feeling from life’s stressful moments. Drinking lots of water, targeted stretching exercises, or even cold compresses (a bag of frozen veggies will do!) could have you feeling better before you know it.  

Regional Grievances

Traveling for the holidays? If you’re headed to one of these major metropolitan destinations you might want to go prepared with natural remedies like ginger root tea, peppermint oil, or even a snack like salty apple slices to help keep the tension at bay.   

Of the 2,000 Americans we polled, only people living in New York City told us tourists gave them the biggest headaches. With roughly 47 million tourists passing through each year, it’s makes sense that the seemingly endless parade of vacationers and sightseers in the Big Apple are giving the locals something to complain about.

More than just work (which topped the lists in Seattle, Chicago, and Los Angeles), people we polled from San Francisco told us meetings that could (or should) have been emails weren’t just annoying, they were giving them headaches. Considering the way San Francisco has evolved in recent years, the odds are fairly high that anyone living there is probably involved in tech industry in some capacity, and may prefer the efficacy of electronic communication to an in-person assembly. In Denver, we learned that politics weren’t just making conversation around the dinner table awkward, they might actually be having a detrimental effect on the health of people living in the city as the leading cause of headaches.

In nearly every city, traffic either topped the list (like in Miami and Atlanta) or showed up as one of the top three reasons residents were experiencing headaches.

Generational Considerations

Just as different environmental factors that might aggravate us to the point of developing an actual headache varied from city to city, our survey found that age played a role as well.

Traffic and work were still popular stress points for those we surveyed of different ages, but our study revealed that millennials between the ages of 18 and 29 had more tech grievances than any other generation. They were the most likely age group to find people glued to their phones aggravating enough to cause a headache, in addition to group texts. At least one study has found that millennials typically tend to spend more time on their smartphones than they do actually talking to other people.

Politics was among the most headache inducing topics for Americans between the ages of 30 and 39 as well as between 50 and 59, while people we polled over the age of 60 were the only generation mostly likely to list personal finances as one of the most stressful topics to dwell on. If you can’t avoid bringing up politics at the dinner table completely, here are a few tips for keeping things civil and reducing the chances of getting a headache if things start to get heated.

The Biggest Bothers

Among the headache inducing things people told us they found the most aggravating in life, our survey revealed a few key outliers among certain age groups.

Group messaging (generally regarded as a nuisance by most) was more than three times as likely to cause headaches among Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 than any other age group. We also found that slightly older millennials (and even a few Generation X respondents) were either so passionate about politics – or so annoyed by them – that they were more than twice as likely than any other age group to get a headache just thinking about it.

Americans we polled in their 40’s were the most likely to feel put off by their incompetent coworkers and those in their 50’s said that personal finances made their heads hurt the most. Across the country, more than three out of four Americans in their 50’s are behind in their retirement savings today, and nearly a third over the age of 55 have no retirement savings whatsoever. While people we surveyed in their 60’s were also concerned about personal finances, they were more than four times as likely to report foreign customer service agents as annoying enough to give them a headache.

Healthy Living, Today

Whether it’s about being stuck in traffic when you’re on vacation or getting a handle on your financial future, Americans today are reporting a higher amount of stress than they have in the past. That stress isn’t always an isolated experience, and can lead to serious concerns like tension headaches and migraines. While over the counter medications may offer a sense of reprieve, they aren’t without serious health risks can can even lead to dependency or addiction. With the exception of marijuana, over the counter and prescription medications are the most commonly misused substances in the country.

If you or someone you love is suffering from drug addiction – help is here for you. At Archstone Recovery we believe in treating the individual which is why our recovery programs are customized to every patient we treat. Our inpatient and outpatient care options are designed with your flexibility and freedom in mind to help keep your life and routines as stable as possible throughout treatment. We know recovery is in reach and you are not alone. Call us today at 888-608-0011 to learn more.

Methodology

We surveyed 2,000 Americans to find out what really gives them a headache. All questions required respondents to fill in the blank, and we grouped similar situations under the most frequently reported. For example, “Meetings that could have been emails” included “Pointless Meetings”, “Meetings that could have been an email”, “When you realize the meeting you’re in provides no value”, “Meetings that drag on for no reason”, etc.

Sources