HEADACHE PREVENTION TECHNIQUES
There are many different headache prevention techniques. There is no simple solution and every treatment plan should be individualized. The key is to become educated about your headaches and develop a personalized approach to help manage your headaches. The following headache prevention techniques and tips will help you control headaches so they no longer compromise your life.
Keep a headache diary
Perhaps the most important tool in headache prevention is the headache diary. It is used by doctors in determining the underlying causes and patterns related to your headache. It helps you track the following:
- Foods you eat and when headaches occur
- Duration of headaches
- Type of pain
- Intensity level
- Amount of sleep
- Strenuous activity
- Elevated stress
Avoid food triggers
A number of foods and ingredients can trigger headaches. Some of the common triggers include alcohol and caffeinated beverages as well as certain fruits, nuts, cheeses, and chocolate. Avoid these foods and others if your diary indicates they are causing problems for you and you would like to help prevent headaches in the future.
Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet that contains adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients might make a big difference. Begin by eating regularly scheduled meals. If you don't have time to eat, get a snack or even a glass of water.
Reduce stress at home and work
Plan ahead. Don't procrastinate; putting things off is stressful. Try relaxation and breathing exercises to help minimize stress. Relax all your muscles and take several deep, slow breaths. Make sure both your abdomen and chest expand when you breathe.
Get plenty of sleep
Maintain a regular sleep schedule. If necessary, use an alarm clock to remind you to go to bed. Set and stay with a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends.
Aerobic exercise has been shown to make an appreciable difference in reducing headaches and promoting a general sense of well-being. Even if you walk only 15 to 20 minutes a day at a brisk pace, you can reap benefits. Check with your healthcare professional before starting any exercise program.
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