Lifestyle Changes to Manage Headache

Almost all headaches respond to lifestyle changes. Specific recommendations are suggested to limit the number or intensity of each type of headache.

Managing Tension Headaches

Exercise RegularlyExercise can help control stress. For more information on starting a regular exercise program, click here . Improve Your PosturePoor posture contributes to tension headaches. Do not slouch. Hold the phone, rather than cradling it on your shoulder, or use a headset. Consider seeing a physical or occupational therapist for posture tips more specific to your individual situation.Learn Stress Management TechniquesStress can contribute to a headache. A mental health professional can work with you to develop stress management skills and learn relaxation techniques. The counselor may be able to help you identify events that trigger the headaches and work toward resolutions. For more information on reducing stress, click here . Get Plenty of SleepMaintaining regular sleep routines will help you fall asleep. Sleep helps decrease tension and irritability. For more information on getting a good night of sleep, click here . Take Breaks From TasksRegular breaks help prevent your muscles from tightening up and can decrease stress.Limit Stimuli During a Headache
  • Put an ice pack or heat pack on your head or neck to ease discomfort.
  • Lie in a dark, quiet room.
  • Massage your temples and neck.
  • Practice relaxation techniques.

Managing Migraine Headaches

Keep a Diary to Help Identify Your Migraine PatternIdentifying what triggers migraines and what relieves them will help your doctor and you develop a plan to manage your migraines.Do Not Overuse Pain MedicationOveruse of pain medications can make your headaches worse. Avoid excessive use of these medications.Learn Stress Management and Relaxation TechniquesStress can contribute to a headache. A mental health professional can work with you to develop stress management skills and learn relaxation techniques. For more information on reducing stress, click here . Exercise RegularlyExercise helps control stress. Regular swimming and walking can decrease the number and intensity of migraine headaches. However, exercise can trigger a migraine attack in certain individuals. For more information on starting a regular exercise program, click here . Avoid Foods That Trigger MigrainesSome foods bring on migraines. Avoid foods that trigger your migraine headaches. These may include:
  • Chocolate
  • Any foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG), tyramine, or nitrates
  • Alcohol, especially red wine
  • Aspartame
Eat Small Meals More OftenIf low blood sugar happens before your migraines, eating small amounts of food more frequently may help prevent your blood sugar from dropping.Do Not Change Your Regular Sleep Pattern on the Weekend or During VacationSleeping and waking at regular times may help prevent headaches.Limit Stimuli During an Attack
  • Apply cold compresses to painful areas of your head.
  • Lie in a dark, quiet room.
  • Apply gentle pressure to your temples.

Managing Cluster Headaches

Find a doctor who is a headache specialist. Work with your doctor to create a plan to treat and prevent your headaches.Do Not Drink Alcoholic BeveragesEven a small amount of alcohol can trigger a headache during a cluster period.Learn Stress Management TechniquesStress can contribute to a headache. A mental health professional can work with you to develop stress management skills and learn relaxation techniques. For more information on reducing stress, click here . Do Not SmokeTobacco use has been associated with cluster headaches. For more information on quitting smoking, click here . Do Not Overuse Pain MedicationOveruse of pain medications can make your headaches worse. Avoid excessive use of these medications.

Managing Sinus Headaches

Keep Nasal Passages MoistThis can be done by:
  • Drinking plenty of fluids to keep hydrated
  • Breathing in warm, moist air
  • Using a mist of saline nasal spray up to six times a day
  • Nasal irrigation—ask your doctor how to do this at home
Avoid Exposure to Anything That Triggers Allergy or Sinus Symptoms Allergic reactions increase the amount of secretions in and swelling of the nasal passages. This can lead to sinusitis . Seek Medical Treatment for Allergies or a Persistent ColdMedical management of allergies and upper respiratory infections helps prevent sinusitis. If you are prone to sinus problems, ask your doctor about using a decongestant before air travel. A decongestant will help keep nasal passages open.Wash Your Hands Frequently to Avoid Colds Hand washing helps prevent colds and other infections passed from the hand to the nose, mouth, or eyes. Colds increase the amount of secretions in and swelling of the nasal passages, which can lead to sinusitis. Avoid Alcoholic DrinksAlcohol can cause swelling of nasal and sinus tissues.Avoid SmokeDo not smoke. Also, avoid second-hand smoke and polluted air. For more information on quitting smoking, click here . Do Not Overuse Pain MedicationOveruse of pain medications can make your headaches worse. Avoid excessive use of these medications.

When to Contact Your Doctor

Contact your doctor if your headaches do not respond to lifestyle changes and prescribed medications.

References

leave comments
0
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals



June 2015

A meta-analysis found that mothers participating in a prenatal exercise group were less likely to have a large newborn, less likely to need a cesarean section, and no more likely to have a low birthweight baby than those who did not exercise. The study supports proper prenatal care advice which advocates for mothers to exercise during pregnancy if allowed by the physician.

dot separator
previous editions


May 2015

Chewing Gum After Surgery May Improve Digestive Tract Recovery
April 2015

Early Peanut Consumption Associated with Lower Risk of Peanut Allergy in High Risk Children
March 2015

dashed separator

Advertisement

Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »

 

Advertisement

Advertisement

DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook