The 50 biggest “headaches” of today

The stress and tension of modern living takes its toll.

Slow Wi-Fi, PPI calls and a laptop or computer freezing have been named as part of a consumer survey as the top three biggest "headaches" of modern life, it emerged.[1]

Researchers polled 2,000 UK adults in 2014 on aspects of 21st century living that regularly leave them feeling stressed and found that an endless barrage of junk mail, being kept on hold for appointments and public transport delays make up the top ten biggest causes of headaches in our modern lives.

The study, conducted by Nurofen, highlights that stress can sometimes take a physical toll too - with just under a third of those surveyed becoming ill as a result of a bout of unease or sustained period of tension.

In fact, the problem is bigger than it first appears, with one in five, of those surveyed experiencing stress-related tension every single day. Regular headaches, constant fatigue and an inability to sleep were reported as some of the most common side effects of stress. One in five has even come close to quitting their job.

Despite technology being designed to make our lives easier, 55 per cent of those surveyed feel that life is more stressful now than it was ten years ago.[1] It seems the things that are supposed to be solutions or speed our life up, can prove an inconvenience and a great source of frustration. It's interesting to note that the biggest factors in the rise of our stress levels include increased living costs, heightened pressure at work and pressures from society.

Often these annoyances are out of our hands but the signs of stress and tension they can cause in us can build and sometimes have an impact on our health. It's important to try and manage our stress levels and be aware of the sources of our stress/tension level.

More unusual irritations which made the top 20 biggest annoyances included potholes, misbehaving kids and people taking up two parking spaces.

Some other interesting irritations made the top 50, such as failing to find the start of sellotape and drivers hogging the middle lane. Commuters cited people who start boarding the train before everyone has disembarked as a real ‘headache’, with Facebookers claiming mothers constantly uploading pictures of their children as a significant source of irritation.

However, the real source of tension-type headaches is not what you may think it is, it can be the muscles in the head and neck when they get strained.

For the full list of the top 50 biggest headaches of today (2014), see below.


  1. Your laptop/computer freezing
  2. PPI calls
  3. Slow Wi-Fi
  4. Being stuck in traffic
  5. People who take up two parking spaces
  6. Public transport delays
  7. Junk mail
  8. Waiting on the phone for the doctors
  9. When people chuck their rubbish out of the car window
  10. People who don't use their indicators
  11. Potholes
  12. Stepping in dog muck
  13. When you hold the door open for someone and they don't say thank you
  14. The rising cost of living
  15. When people let their children misbehave in restaurants
  16. Rude sales assistants
  17. Screaming kids
  18. Buying property
  19. When people hold a conversation in a doorway
  20. People cancelling on you
  21. Noisy neighbours
  22. Reality TV shows
  23. Road works
  24. Middle lane hoggers
  25. Your delivery gets lost in the post
  26. Computer jargon
  27. Forgetting your password
  28. Council tax
  29. People talking overly loud on public transport
  30. People who cycle on pavements
  31. Finding the start of the sellotape
  32. hen people start boarding the train before everyone has gotten off
  33. Slow walkers
  34. People talking in the cinema
  35. Train fares
  36. Ordering something online and it is damaged
  37. Queuing for the self-service checkout
  38. People chewing gum with their mouth open
  39. Being charged for extra luggage at the airport
  40. Mums on Facebook who constantly upload pictures of their kid
  41. Getting stuck behind a tractor
  42. Cyclists on the road
  43. Paying your bills
  44. Speed cameras
  45. Motorcyclists weaving in and out of the traffic
  46. Not having enough change for the car park
  47. Twitter trolls
  48. Your partner snoring
  49. Loud music
  50. People asking questions when your programme is on


[1] One Poll survey of 2,000 U K adults. September 2014.