Coping with Migraines
Taking action to reduce migraines
What in the world is “headache hygiene”?
The American Headache Society defines headache hygiene as “the practice of taking care of yourself in a way that will reduce the likelihood, frequency, intensity, and severity” of migraines.3 It includes:
- Good, regular sleep habits — both too little sleep and oversleeping can act as migraine triggers1,2
- Regular exercise* — aerobic activity reduces stress and increases brain chemicals that control pain1,2
- Healthy and regular eating habits — don’t miss meals or go hungry; drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration; skip the diet drinks and junk food1,2
- Stress reduction — exercise is a well-known stress buster; meditation, yoga and biofeedback may also help reduce migraines1,2
- Trigger avoidance — to identify your personal migraine triggers, keep a migraine diary
The importance of early migraine intervention
Acting swiftly to relieve a migraine can blunt its worst symptoms.1 To practice early intervention:
- As soon as you feel any migraine warning signs, take your migraine medicine as discussed with your healthcare professional — whether an over-the-counter migraine medicine like Excedrin® Migraine or a medicine your doctor prescribes1
- Always keep your migraine medicine handy: at work, school, home, and when traveling3
Talking to your doctor about migraines
It is always important to work closely with your doctor to discuss the migraine management plan and migraine treatment that is right for you.
*Consult your healthcare provider before beginning or changing your exercise routine.
1. American Headache Society. Headache Hygiene --What Is It? Available at: http://www.achenet.org/resources/headache_hygiene__what_is_it/. Last accessed July 2011.
2. American Headache Society. ABC's of Headache Trigger Management. Available at: http://www.achenet.org/resources/abcs_of_headache_trigger_management/. Last accessed July 2011.
3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Migraine Fact Sheet. Can stress cause migraines? Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/migraine.cfm. Last accessed July 2011.