Health Beat

Does Your Head Ache

by Luna Calderon

"Sometimes it can feel like pounding on your temples, other times like your head is in a vice."

Descriptions of headache pain are as countless as those who experience them. Over 40 million Americans suffer from headaches. Each year we spend billions of dollars on pain relievers, treating the symptom rather than preventing or managing the problem.

Headache Types

The medical profession is beginning to unravel the mystery of headaches, particularly the tension-type, which accounts for up to 90 percent of all headaches. Also known as stress headaches, tension headaches are equally common in men and women and can cause dull steady pain in the forehead, temples, back of neck or the entire head.

Tension headaches are believed to be triggered by stress, fatigue, poor posture, too much or too little sleep, too little water or food, depression, gum chewing or teeth grinding.

The other major type of headache is migraine. Migraines, four times more common in women than men, are often hereditary and can be exacerbated by diet, stress, hormonal and environmental changes.

Sufferers can choose from a variety of preventive and therapeutic treatments that range from avoiding trigger-foods to taking medications that stop migraines in mid-attack.

Self-Help Strategies

Keeping a headache diary can help you--and your health provider, if needed--identify what triggers them. Document frequency, suspected triggers, duration, and effective and non-effective relief methods. Some effective self-help strategies for prevention of tension headaches include:

o Relaxing with techniques that reduce muscle tension: regular exercise, deep breathing three to four times per day, standing up and walking around if you sit for long periods of time.

o Stretching throughout the day with gentle shoulder and neck rolls.

o Structuring your workload to avoid prolonged periods in one position and maintaining a comfortable posture at your computer workstation, desk or other workstation.

o Eating regular meals and drinking plenty of water and other beverages.

o Getting enough sleep.

o Reducing or avoiding the following, if they are a headache trigger for you: red wine, beer and distilled spirits, chocolate, aged cheese, nitrite-cured meats and MSG.

Pain Busters

To reduce pain after you have a headache, you can:

o Apply ice to the neck.

o Take a hot shower, bath or apply moist heat where it hurts.

o Massage the neck, shoulders and head.

o Take an over-the-counter pain reliever that works for you, such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Consult your doctor if you find yourself needing more medication than usual or if you fail to get relief.

o Drink a caffeinated beverage. This works best for those who don't regularly consume caffeine.

Warning Signs

Only two percent of headaches are symptoms of more serious underlying disorders, but you should still seek immediate help if you have a headache with fever or stiff neck, an increase in the frequency or severity of head pain worse than any headache you've had before, headaches that get worse over days to weeks or those that persist following a head or neck injury.

For More Help...

"No More Headaches," a 37-minute video, is available to departments from Health*Matters or for individual viewing at the Self-Care Resource Center at the University Health Services. Call 643-4646 for more information.

Next month: Safe Mouse Use

Luna Calderon, LCSW, is a professional counselor with CARE Services at University Health Services.

Campus Memos

Memoranda mailed to deans, directors, department chairs and administrative officers issued on the chancellor's mailing lists. For copies, contact originating offices.

Dec. 7, Regents' and Chancellor's Scholarship Interviews, from Carol T. Christ, the vice chancellor and provost.

Dec. 7, New Annual Report of Private Giving, from C. D. Mote Jr., vice chancellor-university relations.

Dec. 15, Proposed Calendar for 1997-98 Academic Year, from Carol T. Christ, the vice chancellor and provost.

Dec. 18, Call for Nominations: Management Skills Assessment Program, from Horace Mitchell, vice chancellor-business and administrative services.

Dec. 21, Appointment of Irene Rivas Hegarty as Director of Community Affairs, from Leroy Bean, associate vice chancellor-business and administrative services.

Jan. 12, Announcement of Fellowship Availability, from Mary Metz, dean of University Extension, and Anthony J. Cascardi, program director, Berkeley Summer Research Seminars.

Jan. 17, Establishment of MS and PhD Degrees in Environmental Science, Policy and Management, from Carol T. Christ, the vice chancellor and provost.

Jan. 23, Revised Layoff Implementation Guidelines for Management, from Horace Mitchell, vice chancellor-business and administrative services.

Jan. 24, Observer Program, Chang-Lin Tien, chancellor.

Awards and Honors

Marcia Bogart and Barbara Harris, purchasing officers for the College of Chemistry, have had their efforts to promote affirmative action in purchasing agreements recognized by an award from the UC Office of Small Business Development.

Sarah W. Freedman, professor of education, has received the Richard A. Meade Award for Research in English Education from the Conference on English Education of the National Council of Teachers of English. Freedman was honored for her book, "Exchanging Writing, Exchanging Cultures: Lessons in School Reform from the United States and Great Britain."

Michael A. Harrison, professor in the graduate school, has been elected a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. Harri-son joined the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences in 1963 and is currently conducting research on multimedia environments for workstations.

Chieh-Su Hsu, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, was presented the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' 1995 N. O. Myklestad Award at the 15th Biennial Conference on Mechanical Vibration and Noise held last fall. The award recognizes Hsu's innovative contributions to the field of vibration engineering.

Adib Kanafani, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of Berkeley's Institute of Transportation Studies, has been named to a new advisory council formed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The commission makes decisions on transportation policy and funding for the San Francisco Bay Area.

Adolf D. May, professor emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was named an honorary member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. A transportation and traffic management expert, May is one of 50 people to receive this honor since the institute's inception in 1930.

Horace Mitchell, vice chancellor of business and administrative services, has been named chair of the volunteer leadership board of the United Way. As such, Mitchell will oversee the solicitation and distribution of over $4 million to nonprofit agencies.

Carl L. Monismith, professor of civil and environmental engineering, was elected an honorary member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the society's highest honor, and was presented with the Roy W. Crum Distinguished Service Award of the Transportation Research Board, a unit of the National Research Council.

Donald O. Pederson, professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer sciences, has been named as winner of the 1995 Phil Kaufman Award by the Electronic Design Automation Companies. Pederson was honored for contributions to computer-aided design tool technology.

Lawrence Talbot, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, has been nominated a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for his contributions to the fields of rarefied gas dynamics, partially ionized gas flow and turbulent combustion.

Reginald E. Zelnik, professor of history, has been selected as a co-recipient of the fourth annual Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award of the American Historical Association. The award recognizes work in graduate teaching.


Retirement and Savings

Retirement and savings program workshops, sponsored by the Personnel Office-Benefits Unit, have been scheduled.

Both faculty and staff of all ages are invited to attend.

Enrollments are handled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Once you reserve space in a workshop, you can assume you are enrolled unless the benefits unit contacts you.

For details on how to enroll, call Kim Martin at 643-7634 for savings workshops and Darda Swanson at 64 2-9310 for retirement workshops.

The location of all workshops is 150 University Hall.

All workshops are three hours long and are held from 9 a.m. until noon on each morning shown on the adjacent chart.

Workshop Dates


February 8, Thursday

March 14, Thursday

April 18, Thursday

June 11, Tuesday

July 23, Tuesday


February 15, Thursday

March 21, Thursday

May 1, Wednesday

June 18, Tuesday

July 11, Thursday

Staff Enrichment

Employee Development And Training

For more information, for copies of the 1995-96 Employee Development and Training catalog or for information on how to enroll in classes, call 642-8134.

Career Information Panel: Creative Arts

Feb. 14, 12:15-1:30 pm.

This panel features employees with careers in the creative arts who discuss job responsibilities, professional skills, career paths and educational backgrounds that led to their current positions. This panel is designed for employees interested in moving into the featured career. We invite you to bring your lunch.

Skills Seminar for Analysts

Feb. 15 and 22, 8:30 am-4:30 pm. This workshop is designed to look at the whole analytic process, from defining and analyzing a problem to recommending solutions. Through case studies, exercises and discussions, you will have the opportunity to follow the analytic process.

Operational Planning: The Basis for Budget Development And Control

Feb. 16, 8:30 am-4:30 pm and Feb. 23, 8:30 am-noon.

Participants will learn how to formulate departmental goals and objectives, relate these to higher level strategies and goals, identify means to measure whether or not departmental objectives are met, develop departmental action plans and control operational actions and budgets.

Improving Your Writing Process

Feb. 26, March 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18 and 22, 12:10-1:30 pm.

In this eight-session noontime course, participants will learn to analyze their own writing process, modify their writing and gain confidence as writers. In a comfortable workshop environment, writing exercises will be offered and partnerships will be formed.



Smoke No More!

Jan. 31-March 20, Wednesdays, noon-1 pm. Fee $40.

Understand your smoking habit and its health effects. Identify what triggers your smoking and how to cope. Learn new, healthy behaviors to live as a non-smoker. For information or enrollment, call 642-6074.

Weight No More!

Feb. 1-March 7, Thursdays, noon-1 pm. Fee $40.

Need to lose 10 pounds or more? This six-week healthy eating program promotes weight loss and healthy weight maintenance through lifestyle change. For information or enrollment, call 643-4646.

New Techniques In Body Conditioning

Feb. 2, 12:10-12:55 pm, 234 Hearst Gymnasium.

Uses concepts from Joseph H. Pilates to improve muscle control, flexibility and strength, particularly targeting the abdominal and back muscles. Enrollment not necessary.

Computers at Work

Feb. 7, 2-3 pm.

Learn about health issues related to computer use. Design a user friendly workstation. Practice exercises to relieve computer related aches and pains. For information or enrollment, call 643-4646.


Copyright 1996, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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