Dr. Rachna Pande
Headache is one of the main complaints disturbing health status of a person who is a desk or office worker. It is a manifestation of wide variety of physical and mental conditions. There are some reasons for headache more common among office workers.
Eye strain is a common cause for headache in people working in offices. Working for long hours on the computer commonly leads to eye strain causing headache. Over time, the eyes may become weak necessitating use of eye glasses for improving impaired vision.
Due to stress at work place, many persons develop tension headaches. It can be due to both physical as well as emotional stress. Doing something needing intense concentration for long hours can also precipitate tension headache. This type of headache occurs due to spasm of the muscles around the head induced by stress.
The affected person suffers from tight band like sensation over the head. But there is no vomiting or discomfort on looking at lights. The site of pain is vague. An average episode of headache may last from 3o to 90 minutes. “Cluster headache”, occurs more in young ambitious, men. The individual is usually awakened from sleep by severe headache, which is excruciating and located around eyes and or on forehead.
The eyes may become red and watering may occur from eyes, associated with running nose or stuffed nose. One may get episodes of headache for days together and then remain symptom free for long time. Each episode of headache may last from 1 to 3, 4 hours.
Migraine is also caused by mental tension and anxiety and is more common in young women. It is said to be due to narrowing of the blood vessels due to stress. Here, the headache is severe throbbing in character and mostly one sided and associated with nausea, vomiting and photophobia. Colored halos or bright spots in front of eyes may precede the headache. An attack of migraine can last from few to 24 hours. Relief is obtained by lying down in a quiet dark room. Mental stress, noise and bright lights, e.t.c., can precipitate migraine. Some kinds of food, particularly chocolates and nuts can also induce migraine.
Mostly an average office worker spends 8 to 10 hours daily, sitting on a desk. This prolonged inactivity along with lack of fiber in diet makes him more prone to constipation. Chronic constipation and indigestion also lead to discomfort over the head.
Office workers are more susceptible to hypertension due to multiple reasons. Hypertension can cause throbbing headache which can be more in morning hours. Sleep deprivation due to working late in the night can also cause headache in a person. But after getting good sleep, he should feel fresh and comfortable.
Some individuals pretend to be sick, complaining of headache. But their motive is only to abstain from work. Whatever may be the underlying cause for headache but use of alcohol and cigarettes is known to induce and aggravates headache.
The frequency of episodes of headache in a person depend on his mental make up and adaptability. Headache though a trivial complaint, affects a person much. He has to take rest if the headache is severe, thus affecting productivity both of the individual and institution.
Office workers should be aware of the common types of headache, to which they are prone. They should try to adopt healthy working postures to avoid strain on the eyes. They should learn techniques to relax to avoid stress related headaches.
Good coordination and team work among colleagues in any office ensures the working atmosphere to be stress free, thus preventing headache in the individuals. Every person working there has to contribute in this direction.
Dr. Rachna Pande
Specialist Internal medicine-
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