It’s time to talk about headache

With some 5,000 people under the care of hospital consultants in Hull for migraine and headache disorders, it’s no wonder the city has become a nationally recognised centre for treating such debilitating neurological problems.

Five thousand people are just the tip of the iceberg, however. According to the Migraine Trust, migraine affects one in every seven people, and is more prevalent than diabetes, asthma and epilepsy combined.

“Hull Royal Infirmary’s department of neurology has been growing its reputation as a centre of excellence for headache and migraine since 2005,”says Dr Fayyaz Ahmed, Consultant Neurologist at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. “We now attract specialist referrals from across the country and we host the biggest national meeting of headache experts every two years.”

Later this week, global experts in headache and migraine will convene in Hull once again for the latest British Association for the Study of Headache (BASH) biennial national meeting on headache. Leading national and international experts will come together on 17 and 18 January to discuss the latest advances in headache research across the globe, as well as emerging treatments for migraine and other primary headache disorders including cluster headache.

But the learning isn’t just for professionals. To supplement this prestigious conference, members of the public will find out more about managing their own condition at a special weekend event being organised in partnership with the Migraine Trust.

“Headache disorders can often be dismissed because they’re not something that people can physically see, but migraine and cluster headache can be extremely disruptive to a person’s life,” Dr Ahmed continues. “They can affect people’s relationships with family and friends, and impact their ability to hold down a job or even carry out the most basic of everyday tasks such as driving or preparing a meal.”

“Some 5,000 people in the East Riding are under the care of neurologists for headache disorders, and locally we’re proud to be leading the way in the field of migraine and headache treatment. Not everyone will need specialist hospital care, however; some can manage their condition with the right support and advice, and that’s largely what our public awareness session is designed to do.

“Members of the public will to talk to others in the same situation, seek advice on managing headaches, find out what treatments might be available, understand when to seek help, and understand the implications of lifestyle choices and medication overuse.”

Dr Ahmed continues:

“To have global experts in the headache field here in Hull is very exciting, but the patients we see locally are only really a fraction of those affected by headache disorder in some way. This week is designed to get both public and professionals talking about what we can do to improve the care of people with headache and migraine, but also how those suffering can help themselves”.

Around 300 professionals, including some of the world’s best headache physicians, will be attending the eight biennial British Association for the Study of Headache (BASH) meeting on 17/18 January at Lazaat Hotel, Cottingham. Registration details are available via the BASH website.

The half-day ‘Managing your Migraine’ event which is designed to help members of the public better understand their condition and offer the chance to speak to experts in this field will take place on Saturday 19 January and is now sold out.