Lifestyle Changes to Manage Headache
Managing Tension HeadachesExercise RegularlyPhysical activity can help control stress. Aim for 30 minutes at time on most days of the week. Start out slowly and increase activity level over time. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.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.Get Plenty of SleepMaintaining regular sleep routines will help you fall asleep. Sleep helps decrease tension and irritability.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 HeadachesKeep 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.Exercise RegularlyExercise helps control stress and reduce depressive symptoms. Regular swimming and walking can decrease the number and intensity of migraine headaches. However, exercise can trigger a migraine attack in certain individuals. Talk to your doctor about specific activities you can do.Avoid Foods That Trigger MigrainesSome foods bring on migraines. Avoid foods that trigger your migraine headaches. These may include:
- Any foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG), tyramine, or nitrates
- Alcohol, especially red wine
- Apply cold compresses to painful areas of your head.
- Lie in a dark, quiet room.
- Apply gentle pressure to your temples.
Managing Cluster HeadachesFind 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.Do Not SmokeTobacco use has been associated with cluster headaches. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about the best ways you can quit.Do Not Overuse Pain MedicationOveruse of pain medications can make your headaches worse. Avoid excessive use of these medications.
Managing Sinus HeadachesKeep 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
When to Contact Your DoctorContact your doctor if your headaches do not respond to lifestyle changes and prescribed medications.
More from Beliefnet
Improving parent-adolescent sexual communication has been noted as one factor that could help to encourage adolescents to practice safer sex behavior. This study found that sexual communication with parents plays a small protective role in safer sex behavior among adolescents.
Celiac Disease May Increase the Risk of Bone Fractures
Music May Improve Sleep Quality in Adults with Insomnia
CPAP May Help Older Adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnea