Here’s another lovely passion for profession story.
I had a chat with sprightly Mojoyin -mum of three boys and founder of Jojo Shoes – a brand that designs beautiful shoes for ladies. Mojoyin is making a profession out of her passion for fashionable shoes.
Mojoyin was one of the fastest girls in my secondary school 😚and it was always a delight to watch her on the track. It’s interesting to see that she’s dropped her track spikes for stilettos and the likes 😀. This buttresses my point that we can excel at anything if we work hard at it.
Mojoyin could have easily chosen a career path following her natural talent as an athlete, but she chose her passion for fashion (shoes) and is putting all necessary efforts to make it flourish.
Let’s meet Mojoyin…
My name is Mojoyin Abolarin. I’m a mom, wife, homemaker, IT database Administrator and now an entrepreneur who designs beautiful shoes for women.
I was born and grew up in Lagos, went to boarding school for 6 years, studied biology at the University of Maryland with hopes for going to medical school. That didn’t work out as I had my first son, got married and decided to go for a masters in Information Technology.
Tell us about what you do?
I am the owner of Jojo Shoes, a brand that I started in April 2018.
After finishing from grad school, I started working as a database administrator and later on as a software developer. I then decided to start my own business of buying and selling clothes which failed so badly after so much investment. My love for fashion was still intact and I still desired to start a business around fashion.
I’ve always loved shoes, most shoes that caught my attention were usually either too expensive or not comfortable. So I decided to start making shoes for myself first and then others. Most shoe samples are in size 8, but mine is in 10 because there was a part of me that was afraid of failing and thought “ well if I fail at this at least I would be wearing all my samples to console myself.”. 😁
How did you get into Shoe production.
As stated earlier, I love shoes and I’m often drawn to the classiest shoes on display which usually turned out to be high-end shoes, but just couldn’t afford to buy them.
Also, I have bunions (even though not too big) , but enough to make my feet look weird and uncomfortable in stiletto shoes.
About 4 years ago, I bought a pair of green stilettos from Christian Luboutin and it was hell walking in them. I returned them and bought another style, thinking changing the style would help, but I also couldn’t fit! That’s when I thought of designing shoes for myself and making sure I enjoyed the comfort of those shoes while making them affordable to most at a high end taste.
Not why shoes, but why good shoes 😊? Good shoes will definitely take you to good places 😉. Just kidding. Shoes because I’ve always loved shoes and that’s the first thing I look at in a persons outfit.
I also want to make the feet beautiful. You see people wear clothes, makeup and accessories to beautify and enhance their figures and looks, so why shouldn’t we also adorn the feet that supports the whole body and make it look gorgeous.
Are there any big shoe companies you look up to, and why?
I really love Aquazzura. Their shoes are so unique and stylish, yet not as highly priced as some of the other high end shoes and they also have their original and classic designs.
What are you goals for your brand?
My goal for Jojo’s is to see it in every woman’s closet and to have it in main chain stores. I will like every woman to have at least one pair of Jojos.
How do you come up with your designs?
I have a designer I work with – Andrea (my Italian designer) he helps with the design process. If I have an idea, I draw it on a sheet of paper, he then marks out all measurements and uses design software to help perfect the design/idea so the manufacturer will understand.
I sometimes also draw in my dreams and they are crazy drawings but my designer in Italy understands me a lot and also helps improve my sketch. We eliminate until we sure we’ve created something wearable.
What do you mean by drawing in your dream?
Drawing while sleeping 😚. Sometimes I dream of shoes, and some designs and I just notice I’m drawing in my dreams, immediately I’m aware of it, I get up (I always have my pad and pen on my bedside table) and scribble a reminder or draw what I have in mind and then go back to sleep immediately. This has happened several times, the fear of failure is real I guess 😄.
What are the challenges you’ve faced in running your brand?
Well I have enjoyed every stressful part of designing , sourcing for manufacturers, going broke, sourcing for materials, choosing colours etc. I tend to be conservative but decided to go out of my comfort zone and bombard my shoe line with colours.
There are however many challenges, biggest being funding. This business is capital intensive. I started with my paycheck as a software developer, so I’m trying not to starve my kids all in the name of starting a new business especially as I’m avoiding getting a loan.
Another major challenge is getting a manufacturer to work with my minimum order quantity. Since I started business, I’ve had to switch between 3 manufacturers, and I’m still researching for better manufacturers in terms of price, quality and minimum order quantity. One thing I’ve realized is that the research never stops.
Sizing is also a problem, as is the issue of customers trying to make you go crazy! The numerous voices demanding different shoe styles is unbelievable. Some want wedges, some want, flats, some want even higher heels. One thing I realized is just to follow my vision and not lose track of where I’m going with my brand.
Where do you see your brand in 10 years?
By Gods Grace, I want Jojo Shoes to be in all Major retail stores. I also would like to have several physical stores in all major cities.
How do you manage running your business with motherhood?
It’s tough, but I just plan ahead – I do most of what needs done when my kids are in school. I have a flexible remote job and good support from family and friends.
Advice for budding producers?
start from somewhere with the little you have, do lots of research, be prepared
to do a lot of advertising, be patient and just trust God.
On a lighter note, What would you do if you had special powers?
If I had special powers, I would make everyone in the world peaceful with each other. It’s so scary with how much hatred and atrocities going on in the world. So I would want to be known as “Peace woman with a white cape and an all white outfit 😋. Imagine how the world would be if they wasn’t hate. 🏳👼🏾
On this episode, I will be profiling two Nigerian brands from the Capital city – Abuja. Please enjoy and don’t forget to leave a comment. 😘
I have to start this with a little background about this brand as it’s another brand dear to my heart. The beautiful brains behind Dzyn is Ogwa Iweze who launched the brand in 2014.
Ogwa’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked in quickly – as far back as when we were all single girls enjoying the social scene of Abuja. She started her fashion house with a few tailors and they made custom made clothes on order.
The ladies started getting hitched one after the other and all roads led to Ogwa’s store to get our Aso-Ebis made. For non-Nigerian readers, Aso-Ebi is a uniform dress traditionally worn at ceremonies as an indicator of solidarity and cooperation.
Fast forward a few years later, I got married, left Abuja and Dzyn was born during that period. It has been nothing but brilliant fashion from them since then.
Dzyn is known for its fun, cheerful and lively designs. They are popular for edgy streetwear.
Being a big fashion enthusiast, Ogwa recently started a fashion series called “fashion and the city” where she tells stories through images showing her love for social scene and fashion. You can catch up with her as she visits different cities around the world on her Instagram page, trust me it’s worth it.
Known for its structured wearable pieces, Style Temple was founded by the very stylish Oguana Okwonkwo in 2012.
The brand’s ready-to-wear line is a mixture of structured wearable pieces with a couture edge, clean geometric cuts and shapes with a standout detail. They focus on Easy fitted garments that flatter a woman’s body.
Style Temple is recognized for its signature sophisticated textiles, silhouettes, and cuts. The brand delivers well-structured, contemporary garments with impeccable tailoring and fit.
Vogue Italia had this to say about their SS’17 collection at Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2016: “Presented in a chic and contemporary manner, it’s accessible to the independent young woman who frees herself to stylishly embrace all that she is.
Style Temple is very popular among Nigerian young socialites and fashionistas.
Tola is mum to 2 boys and a beautiful princess Mo, who was born with an extra chromosome. Read about how Mo’s birth has motivated Tola into starting a foundation for children with down syndrome especially those born into less privileged homes and how she’s helping Mo blossom and break boundaries.
Lets meet Tola;
My name is Tola Makinde, you can call me TM although some people I’ve known for over 4 decades call me Sola.
I am from Ikare Akoko in Ondo state and the first child of my parents. I started my education with Stee international School, (popularly known as Subuola nursery and primary school as far back as 1978). I attended FGGC Bida for a while before crossing over to Federal Government Girls College Shagamu, in Ogun State and later obtained a BSc in Business Management from the most peaceful university in the caliphate city of Sokoto, Usman Danfodio University.
I am an advocate for persons living with Down syndrome and other intellectual or learning differences; bridging the gap between children with special needs, their families and community. I describe myself as a caregiver, a creative thinker, counsellor, an early intervention enthusiast, a developmental interventionist for children born this way. I love playing and helping children realize their superpower.
Deeply concerned about my daughter’s development, I gave up my 11 years career as a seasoned banker and continued my small scale self-employment before making a lifelong decision of devoting my time and energy to ensuring that children living with Down Syndrome and their families are encouraged so that they never feel alone on the journey.
Some of my friends think I’m funny but I think I just love to be light-hearted and happy. I am free spirited, unapologetic about it and love to be myself. Trust me, I’m still practising how to be calm by sitting (not standing) to watch a movie or two. In my secondary school days, I participated in sports and I represented my school in high jump and javelin.
You mentioned your daughter in your introduction, was your pregnancy with her different from that of your older children?
was smooth except for one or two bouts of malaria compared to my other
pregnancies. Nothing in pregnancy
suggested that she would be a special child.
Also, no prenatal test was carried out to check for genetic
abnormalities. The Chronic villus
sampling test (CVS), a prenatal test or the Amniocentesis (Amniotic Fluid Test..ATF)
is a test that’s rarely done in Nigeria to detect birth defects.
How did you discover she had a special condition?
Five days after my daughter was born, the doctors confirmed a diagnosis of Down syndrome. It was a rude shock! I was in denial initially and didn’t want to believe it as I had prior knowledge about Down syndrome and its lifelong challenges, most of which can be addressed with the right intervention. I thought about the reality, the pain, sacrifices, the trauma and the society plagued with ignorance.
How did you and your family react to the diagnosis?
It was a rude shock as mentioned earlier, for a couple of weeks or months, it felt like the world had crumbled on me. The shame, rejection. I asked so many questions but didn’t get answers. It shook my faith in God. Why would God give me such a child?
I felt I didn’t deserve to have a child like that. I was angry and sad and was trying to check if I had failed God in any way. The good part is I didn’t have to live in denial for so long. It was very hard to recover from the shock but I moved on shortly after.
What Obstacles did you face after delivery?
I didn’t see my baby 24 hours after delivery. Her delivery was different from my previous
ones. There was so much silence during
her delivery and the doctors and nurses wore long faces. She has birth asphyxia, a condition where
babies do not cry after delivery. I
immediately knew there was a problem.
Five days after she was born, the doctors confirmed a diagnosis of Down syndrome. It was a hard time for me but I handled the stigma well because I knew people were simply ignorant.
Some days, I prayed I would wake up from my dream, I wished the features away but ironically, the features are more like the hallmark appearance unique to Down syndrome. I lived in fear of the unknown because I knew there was little or no acceptance of the condition in this part of the world. It was a tough time for me. It felt like the whole world had crumbled on me. She was diagnosed with heart defects and that meant surgery. It was a very turbulent period for my family.
I faced it with all I had, took the bull by the horn and keyed into early intervention with God on my side. I started physical therapy when she was 2weeks old and intensified as the months rolled by even with the heart condition which subjected us to frequent visits to the hospital for oxygen and nebulization. The most important thing during this period was that God gave me the grace to face it, my husband and immediate family were there for me and I had a few friends I could cry to.
How did you overcome the obstacle?
It was the beginning of a long-life journey. Those obstacles came in different measures and for a moment I felt there would never be an end to all the challenges. The roller coaster emotional ride began. Not enough tears could change the diagnosis. I would cry with my mom daily. It was from one sad news to another back then.
Like I said earlier, there were frequent unplanned trips to the hospital to give her oxygen, monitor her breathing, nebulise her and 6 months later after a 2nd echocardiogram was carried out, it revealed her tender heart had a defect. How does one overcome such? Another phase of worrying, stress and hopelessness overwhelmed me.
My friend in the United States helped me through the initial stage. I started engaging Mo in various oral motor, physical and occupational therapy. I did not let the scary reports I read about Down syndrome get to me. My husband and family were very supportive. All these helped me to overcome all the challenges and kept me focused and busy even before she was finally diagnosed with a heart condition at six months old.
What have you found to enjoy about having a child with additional needs?
I never knew I would one day make use of my specially gifted creative ability. I probably made use of it 30% as a banker. Having Mo in my life was the game changer for me. It has unveiled the other me, wits and all.
I discovered I could think creatively and put to good use ideas that often drop in my heart, even when I began to work with her as a baby. She got my attention big time. We spent hours and hours together. She has taught me to never give up on my dreams, build resilience and be happy irrespective of what people do to me. She came to my life to teach me how to be patient in life much more than I thought I knew.The short of it is that I am a blessed woman who has been able to turn her mess into a message and found her purpose from pain.
How do her siblings relate with her?
They are super awesome. They have learnt to understand her and of course been a great support system for her. I began educating them a few years after she was born. They love her irrespective and it’s funny how I watch them feel frustrated and the next minute, I hear words like, “ I love you, I forgive you”. It shows that they will find it easy to love and forgive and that, of course, is hard for so many of us.
How do people relate with her
At first as a baby, she was so flexible and small for her age and not many people wanted to carry her. In public places, on some occasion, people have had to relocate their seats away from us.
She is a happy child and loves to make friends so only a sadist would run away from her. I guess awareness has helped a lot though I have once been told to try and have another child that is normal. That was ignorance at play.
What are your greatest worries for her in the future
Well, I can’t say I have so much to worry about because her future is in Gods hands. We have supported her from the day she was born, and we have a strong belief in the fact that she will achieve her dreams.
People with Down syndrome need to be given a chance at life and they have dreams and aspirations. They want you and I to believe in them and expect the best from them. Her future is bright, very bright and in her maker’s hands.
Can you share some of your happiest moments in raising Mo
I have so many happy moments to share. She is very caring. She got introduced to dancing ballet at age 4. I have tried all sorts of makeshift ideas to enhance her development. I do not look at her health issues or inability, I just keep pushing her with the right support and exposure. She made me proud when she first had a solo ballet presentation at age 5 during the Angels unforgotten Gala night in South Texas.
Mo loves writing, in fact, she can’t do without holding a pencil and paper in a day. She also loves making friends and plays the mother role when she is with her friends. She developed a love for ballet and had her first performance in March at Golden Tulip during a charity ball organized by Buzopat and her second performance was in the USA, San Antonio during the Angels Unforgotten Africa’s 1st Gala night for Down Syndrome. These are a few of my happy moments. Just watching her breaking barriers makes me glad.
What struggles does she have as a result of her condition?
There are other
co-existing challenges, but we focus on her strengths and abilities. With continuous support at the centre where
she attends and at home; because all hands are on deck, I am sure she will keep
winning; those struggles have an expiry date.
All I can say is she is a fighter.
She never gives hope. She loves
What do you hope parents can take away from your story in raising her?
Early intervention has helped us grow. God has been my strength through it all. We are not 100% but we started early. It could have been worse, but it gets better by the day. Parents should not focus on those milestones that are being delayed. My daughter sat at 9 months, walked around 18 months. Wore braces from 13months and used other adaptive devices to help her gait and balance until she was 4years.
There would always be make shift options. It’s better to be doing something about it than just watching. People said I was too worried, but they didn’t understand I was just supporting her to achieve success. We must first try because giving up is never an option.
What progress have you seen in her since her diagnosis?
Too numerous to
mention and I thank the Lord, my family (home and abroad), friends and her teachers.
What treatments/therapies have been successful
Virtually all forms of treatment and therapies she has been exposed to have worked. All that being said, she is still a work in progress. Aren’t we all? Continuous support and various interventions that enhance independence, skill acquisition, play, extracurricular and education have all been an integral part of her development. We do regular checks at the hospital too. Most importantly, God has kept my beautiful heart warrior.
How did she get into ballet?
At age 4, I noticed she would always want to hold my hands and prompt me to dance. She loved watching salsa dance and so I encouraged her. I would always dance with her and one day I introduced her to a ballet instructor and she started classes.
Her smile and excitement on her face speak volumes when she watches performances on TV. I once decoded it as ‘’ how can you help me dance like this mum, I love it’. Without wasting time that day, I started dancing with her and got her a home ballet instructor. Before the 4th rehearsal, she was able to do a presentation in Nigeria with her brothers, then she had a performance at the Golden Tulip hotel at Buzopats Charity ball and a solo in San Antonio. Now she does it effortlessly and we hope to see her get to the top with it.
Can you tell us about your foundation?
I founded Moyinoluwa rainbow foundation a.k.a Mo-rainbow in 2014. My vision was to have a direct impact on children, families and the community as I journeyed through life with My daughter Mo. We are a government approved special Education and vocational centre.
Our goal is to provide early learning interventions to children so that they can live normal and less dependent lives as well as be a joy to their parents. We have established MRF to enable us put a face to Down syndrome through advocacy and enlightenment campaigns and give hope to families who have just received a diagnosis and feel like doing away with the child. Basically, we are on a rescue mission as having a child with Down syndrome is seen as a taboo or spiritual attack.
centre was inaugurated in 2015 as a matter of urgency as we discovered many
children are being locked up at home from a very young age of 2years old, kept
in spiritual homes where some are starved in the name of setting
them free from demonic oppression, left to die, taken to villages to
suffer for being different or poisoned.
We create an enabling environment for
children born this way using play, Extra- curricular activities (Music, sports,
Dance , Modelling, gardening and other activities that will eventually
give them a voice and make them relevant in future.
The name Mo is Moyin’s nickname and the Rainbow was a name God gave me when my
heart was so troubled from not being bold and ready to answer the call to be on
this rescue mission. We had put in
another name and followed up with CAC to conclude the search but the name was
not approved and the whole process was more than 3 months. One very cold winter morning, before day
break, I woke up to use the bathroom and I heard a voice saying” look up, what
do you see in the sky”? While I was still trying to think, I heard the answer
“Rainbow”. I was transfixed and
immediately sent a text to my lawyer and in 2weeks, the name Moyinoluwa Rainbow
Foundation was released and approved.
The rainbow signifies hope and the promise of God after the flood that
destroyed the earth.
Starting the centre
The inspiration behind Mo Rainbow began
after my initial frustration of not getting help with early intervention. God
gave me this vision one day in my living room after Moyin clocked 3 and I could
only look back and appreciate God even more as we had moved from struggles
(with feeding, crawling, standing, walking, talking, heart surgery) to success
as I have an endless list of what she is able to do with God’s help and
unrelenting efforts, never say never attitude and of course non-stop therapy.
The foundation helps with identifying every child’s strength through individual programs tailored according to each learner’s needs. We discover many talents and help the children develop them, acquire skills and independent living.
The foundation has set out to support children and young adults, train parents and empower those from low income earning families. We have survived through donations by individuals and corporate bodies and we provide special education needs using a multidisciplinary approach and one on one sessions to help a child make the necessary progress
Advise to families of recently diagnosed special needs children?
need to embrace, nurture and provide for their child like they will naturally
do for their child without additional needs. I know it’s hard for parents to
cope sometimes especially with the cost of care and delayed milestones, but
trust me, you need to see the face of beauty in your child, show love and give
equal opportunity. Learn, relearn and unlearn especially outdated information
and myths about your child’s condition.
parents give up on their child, see it like they are wasting their time and
resources and sometimes wish the child away or dead. Its heart wrenching for me
to see parents neglect their children, or fathers walk away from their homes,
calling their wives or their children names. If a parent doesn’t show any
interest in giving their child a voice or being their advocate and microphone,
no magic should be expected. My daughter lights up our world, life would have
been boring without her. There is hope after a Down syndrome diagnosis and
every child is a blessing.
Finally, I would like to say to parents ‘’hold your horses, find a support group around you, be the voice for your sons and daughters better still be their microphone. Do all you can to start early, sacrifice and do all you can to support your child. Now is the time. You will see how they begin to thrive, become stronger and find their voices because you gave them hope, support and encouragement. Desist from passing the buck. Don’t be in a haste, celebrate your child and the world will help you do same. Sometimes we want things the right way…hell no! it’s a process. Even when there are no grains in the barn…when it doesn’t look like things are happening, God is working, grapes will come to the vine.
If you’re someone who’s been looking for ways to give back, the Morainbow foundation is a good place to start. I’ll do another post on the foundation and the incredible work Tola and her team are doing soon.
No child deserves to be locked in prayer rooms sometimes leading to death, no child deserves to be mocked and called names because they were born with additional needs. Do what you can to raise awareness and educate people about special needs. Every child deserves love, acceptance and for their voice to be heard.
Above all, let’s be supportive and kind to each other, you never know what another person is going through. Be kind.
Motherhood sure gives parents a lot of new roles, and if you’ve read my book, you will be familiar – as I’m sure you already were, with some of these roles. In my capacity as a mum, I’m a chauffeur👮🏾♀️, Nurse👩🏾⚕️, Chef👩🏾🍳, Party planner💃🏾, Entertainer🤹🏾♀️, Fixer👩🏾🔧, Hairstylist💇🏾♀️, and of course a tutor👩🏾🏫. Trust me, that is naming just a few 🤩.
The Terrific Tutor
My duty as a tutor to my children is becoming more daunting as they grow older. We are not just sounding and blending words anymore, we’re now doing more of creative writing, structured sentences, grammar and punctuation. And that’s only English! Don’t even get me started with maths 🤯. Anyone who knows me knows I’m hopeless with maths. I mean, my Secondary School Certificate score in maths was a P7. My only P score and I was prouder of that than the subjects that got me distinctions.
So you can imagine my dismay with the maths homework my eldest is bringing home now. He’s only in year 3 and I’m reaching for my phone the moment he needs my help. Yes, Google has become my bestie 🤦🏾♀️.
I must admit that I look forward to his English homework. This is because when he finishes, I always go through his homework to make sure he did the right thing. Guess who’s better for it, it has actually been helping me, especially since I started writing again. My tenses were all over the place and my grammar had suffered from years of dormancy 😄. Tutoring my children is really helping me brush up on this and even I can’t believe I’m enjoying maths (pretend we’re not talking about elementary maths).
My knowledge of animals is also on another level, just this morning, three birds were outside my window – no, not singing sweet songs 😁(Bob Marley’s song comes to mind) and I actually knew they were magpies 😱! The boys love animals so we watch a lot of animal documentaries which has resulted in me knowing so many animals and their habitats, even what they eat.
I’m also more attentive to nature and observant about my surrounding. When on my power walks, I look out for interesting things to share with them. There was a week I noticed a group of rabbits on my walks, I took pictures and told them a rabbit must have just had babies and their burrow/Warren (i know that thanks to habitat tutoring) must be nearby. Hubby and I saw a dead snake and had to take a picture to show them. Luckily it was still there when they returned from school, by the next morning though, it was gone and the boys were convinced a lucky fox must have eaten it. 😊
Whenever I see a letter for a school project, I cringe. These projects require so much time and efforts cause most times you have to be as involved as they are in it. But guess who now knows so much more about fossils, don’t even try me on flowers 🤗 and I can actually name and recognise some Van Gogh Artwork 😙.
I know pretty much all the carton theme songs, add Football too that, yes the leagues have different theme songs 🙄, did I mention Superheros too and the cool dance steps as well.
Tutoring my children is fast becoming my favourite role in raising them. It stretches me and is definitely making me a better version of myself. You should watch my son and I practise spellings, he complained about my pronunciation so much that I would type in the word for Alexa, Google or whoever that computer voice is to read it out. 🤷🏾♀️
In all, I’m better for it, though ageing fast 👵🏾. In tutoring them, I’m being tutored myself and what a world of good that is doing me. Do you enjoy teaching your children, please share your experiences.
Headaches are very common, it can be mild in the background and not intrusive or can be severe enough to interfere with daily activities. Many people treat themselves with simple painkillers, drinking extra water, having a rest, or simply by waiting for the headache to go away. It is a common reason for which people see their doctors.
Almost everyone will
experience headaches at some time. Most headaches are not caused by serious or
sinister conditions. However, people understandably worry if headaches seem
different (either particularly severe, particularly frequent or unusual in any
other way) and the commonest worry is whether their headache is a symptom of brain tumor.
Our discussion here is
focused on headaches generally. It explains the different types of headache you
may experience and describes those very rare situations where a headache is, in
fact, a symptom of serious disease.
Types of Headache.
Headaches can occur on
their own and they have no specific cause or they are a side-effect of a
separate illness or injury or occur as a symptom of an underlying cause. Once you are able to
work out the cause of your headaches (usually with the help of your doctor)
then you will be able to decide how to reduce or stop the headaches. This may
involve taking medication only when you get the headaches, taking daily
medication to prevent them or, sometimes, stopping medication you are already
taking. Very occasionally, headaches need further investigation to rule out
more serious underlying causes.
About 90% of the time, headaches occurs on its own with no serious underlying cause and though distressing are usually harmless. Commonest headaches are Migraines, Tension headaches and Cluster headaches and these usually occur on their own without any underlying causes.
This tops the list of headaches.
It typically feels like a tight band around the head and is due to the muscles
of the scalp going into spasm in reaction to stress. They can last for several
days. . They can be uncomfortable and tiring, but they do not usually disturb
sleep. Most people can carry on working with a tension headache. They tend to
worsen as the day progresses and are not usually made worse by physical
activity. The story about the man who was cured of ‘tension headaches’ when his
doctor told him to buy a larger hat may be an urban myth, but it gives you some
idea of what it feels like.
Cluster headaches are very severe
headaches, sometimes called ‘suicide headaches’. They occur in clusters, often
every day for a number of days or even weeks. Then they disappear for months on
end. They are uncommon and tend to occur particularly in adult male smokers.
They are severe, one-sided headaches, which are really very disabling (they
prevent regular activity). People often describe them as the worst pain they
have ever felt. Patients often have a red watery eye on the affected side, a
stuffy runny nose and a droopy eyelid.
Migraines are also very common. A
typical migraine is one-sided and throbbing. Indeed, headaches that are
one-sided, headaches that throb and headaches that make you feel sick are more
likely to be migraines than anything else. Migraines are often severe enough to
be disabling. your eyes can go funny, with zigzag lines, flickering lights or
blind spots. It’s disabling Some
patients need to go to bed to sleep off their headache.
Chronic Tension Headache.
Chronic tension headache
(or chronic daily headache) is usually caused by muscle tension in the back of
the neck and affects women more often than men. Chronic means that the
condition is persistent and ongoing. These headaches can be started by neck
injuries or tiredness and may be made worse by medication overuse (see below).
A headache that occurs almost every day for three months or more is called a
chronic daily headache.
Medication Over-use Headache.
Sometimes called ‘medication
overuse headache’ results when people get into a vicious cycle of taking
headache treatment but the medication itself can make the headache worse.
Painkillers are often the cause but a lot of other types of medication taken
for headaches may also be involved.
Exertional Headaches/Sexual Headache
Exertional headaches are headaches associated with physical
activity. They can become severe very quickly after a strenuous activity such
as running, coughing, having sex (intercourse), and straining with bowel
movements. Headaches related to sex can particularly be worrying for those
involved. They can occur as sex begins, at orgasm, or after sex is over.
Headaches at orgasm are the most common type. They tend to be severe, at the
back of the head, behind the eyes or all over. They last about twenty minutes .
Exertional and sexual intercourse-related headaches are not
usually a sign of serious underlying problems. Very occasionally they can be a
sign that there is a leaky blood vessel on the surface of the brain. Therefore,
if they are marked and repeated, it is sensible to discuss them with your
Other common causes of headaches are dehydration, drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, carbon monoxide poisoning, sinusitis (infection of the air spaces in the skull), Glaucoma (In this condition the pressure inside the eyes goes up suddenly and this causes a sudden very severe headache behind the eye. The eyeball can feel very hard to touch, the eye is red, the front of the eye (cornea) can look cloudy and the vision is usually blurred.
Generally, simple painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen when safe to do so helps settle most headaches. But for specific headaches, there are other specific preventative and relieving medications that work even better to reduce the impact of these, on everyday living.
Consult your doctor for specific medications tailored to the type of headache you may have – especially if recurrent.
When should I be worried about a headache?
You have had a significant head injury in the
previous three months.
Your headaches are worsening and accompanied by
high temperature (fever).
Your headaches start extremely suddenly or you have
stiff neck with it.
You have developed problems with speech and balance
as well as headache.
You have developed problems with your memory or
changes in your behaviour or personality as well as headache.
You are confused or muddled with your headache.
Your headache started when you coughed, sneezed or
Your headache is worse when you sit or stand and
/or present when you wake up in the morning.
Your headache is associated with red or painful
Your headaches are not like anything you have ever
You have unexplained vomiting with the headache.
You have low immunity – for example, if you have
HIV, or are on oral steroid medication or immune suppressing drugs.
You have or have had a type of cancer that can
spread through the body.
Your headache is often associated with pain in the
scalp as you comb your hair and often associated with pain on chewing
The above may be a symptom of an underlying serious and dangerous causes of headache such as Subarachnoid haemorrhage (bleeding around the brain), Meningitis and brain infections, Temporal arteritis. (inflammation of blood vessels in the skull and behind the eye) and Brain tumors amongst others so these symptoms should prompt an urgent visit to the doctor.
If you have a headache which is unusual for you
then you should discuss it with your doctor. You should also talk to your
doctor about headaches which are particularly severe or that stop your regular
activities, those which are associated with other symptoms like weakness or
tingling, and those which make your scalp sore (especially if you are over 50
years of age). Finally, always talk to your doctor if you have an unremitting
morning headache which is present for more than three days or is getting
Remember that headaches are less likely to occur in
Manage their stress levels well.
Eat a balanced, regular diet.
Take balanced regular exercise.
Pay attention to posture and core muscles.
Sleep on two pillows or fewer.
Drink plenty of water.
Have plenty of sleep.
Anything that you can do to improve
any of these areas of your life will improve your health and well-being and
reduce the number of headaches you experience.
Remember if in doubt consult your
References: patient.co.uk, International headache society (IHS). GP notebook.