What's more, it's estimated that in up to 20% of chronic headache sufferers, the condition arises in the neck.** The ratio is of 4:1 female disposition and the average age of sufferers is 42.9 years of age - suggesting that the age-old excuse: "not tonight I've got a headache" may be genuine after all?
According to Headache UK, more than 10 million people in this country suffer regularly from headaches, accounting for approximately 20% of absenteeism from the workplace. The cost to the economy of this absenteeism is estimated to be in the region of £1.5 billion a year.*
So, what's the solution? Over the counter medication can help in the management of short term headache symptoms but long term reliance on this can lead to more serious problems because the medication is not a headache cure but merely short term relief from pain.
Enter high profile, London- based osteopath, Stephen Sacks, who treats his patients at his clinics in Highgate and St John's Wood and also at Frozenshoulder and Backintoshape in London.
Stephen's approach is simple: "Find it, fix it and leave it alone but maintain it and give patients the tools to make sure it does not come back."
In order to do this he uses a variety of methods from osteopathy, acupuncture, sports taping and electrotherapy. But it's sports taping which is currently having spectacular results on patients suffering from chronic headaches.
Stephen says: "Although chronic headaches can be tremendously painful, exhausting and debilitating, we find that many are caused by extreme tension in the neck area and can be relieved by the correct application of Kinesio Taping."
Depending on the whereabouts of the pain, Stephen applies Kinesio Taping to the patient's neck to relieve tension and support the muscles.
He continues: "One of my patients had been suffering serious headaches for months. She had undergone numerous tests and was almost at her wits' end with the pain and lack of sleep. Applying Kinesio Taping to her neck has now caused her to hold her head in a very slightly different way which has relieved the pressure and reduced the headaches enormously. The beauty of Kinesio Taping is that it can be left in place for several days and it's very light, comfortable and totally waterproof. Patients can move freely whilst it's on, which is why you see sports people like Gareth Bale and David Beckham wearing it during matches and in training. It's a simple technique but it's highly effective if applied in the right way."
For those who suffer from tension headaches and wish to test out the Kinesio Taping technique for themselves, High Street chemist Boots now stocks Kinesio "pre-cut" for the neck at £5.99. As Kinesio Taping helps pain relief and reduces swelling in many different injuries while allowing a full range of movement, customers can also choose from pre-cut back, shoulder, wrist, knee and foot varieties.
However if you wish to visit a trained Kinesio Taping practitioner, there are now over 2000 healthcare professionals trained in the specialist Kinesio Taping techniques in the UK as well as many more worldwide. The product is endorsed by footballer Gareth Bale.