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Headache Self-management Course Offered by Clarkson University & Canton-Potsdam Hospital

Headaches… An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Medication

Clarkson University’s Department of Physical Therapy is collaborating with Canton-Potsdam Hospital to provide a free, five-session headache education course Tuesdays, April 24 to May 22, 6:30-8 p.m. in Clarkson Hall Room 224, 59 Main St. in Potsdam.

Newton's Cradle Cradles with International Symbol Man HeadThe program will be run by Doctor of Physical Therapy students working with Prof. Leslie Russek, a faculty member in the Department of Physical Therapy and a physical therapist specializing in the management of headaches.

To sign up or get more information, contact Meghan McClure at or call 315-268-3761 (please leave your name and phone number on the voicemail).

The English Proverb “When the head aches, all the body is the worse” speaks volumes about the impact headaches have on the lives of those who are affected by this kind of pain. Work, family, social life and daily activities are all compromised in people who experience headaches.

Migraines affect 21.8 percent of women and 10.0 percent of men in the United States; intermittent tension headaches affect about 40 percent of people; and chronic headaches affect about four percent. However, because there are many types and causes of headaches, it is often difficult to determine the best option for headache prevention or symptom management.

Fortunately, headaches can often be prevented if you understand the underlying cause. Plus, it is more beneficial to prevent headaches rather than simply treating the symptoms as they occur.

Did you know… tension-type headaches may be triggered by stress, sleep difficulties, fatigue or lack of physical activity? Cervical (neck) headaches are often caused by injuries, osteoarthritis (OA), poor posture and muscle spasms called “trigger points”? Migraines are often triggered by stress, sleep problems and other headaches, as well as many foods and chemicals? Overuse of headache medication is a common cause for chronic daily headaches?

People who want to learn how to manage their headaches need to do some detective work to figure out what causes their particular headaches. A headache diary can help -- where you track what you had been doing before your headache come on -- can help.

A headache diary can also track what you do to manage your headache (e.g., relaxation, stretching exercises, medication) to determine what treatments work best for you. To understand the management of headaches it is necessary to understand causes of headaches, what can be done to prevent headaches, and available treatments.

Research shows that behavioral treatment of headaches (i.e., understanding headache triggers, relaxation, biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy) sometimes works even better than headache medications for all types of headaches. Behavioral approaches are particularly helpful for people where medications do not work well enough and people who want to decrease their use of headache medication.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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