1. Health

Top 10 Tips To Avoid or Reduce Head Pain

By

Created: June 21, 2007

A positive aspect of headaches and Migraine disease is that there are many things we can do for ourselves to reduce or avoid episodes. Not only does this let us reduce our pain, it also gives us some control over our disorders and restores some of the control over our lives of which those disorders seem to rob us. Let’s see how to give some of that head pain the boot!

1. Get those ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZs!

Too much, too little, or disrupted sleep is a very common trigger of headache and Migraine. Experts recommend that we set times to go to bed and get up and stick to those times, even on weekends and during vacation. If you don’t feel rested after a night’s sleep or experience excessive daytime sleepiness, talk to your doctor about a sleep study to rule out sleep disorders.

2. Regular meal times, healthy snacks

Whether linked to drops in blood glucose levels or not, skipping meals is something to be avoided. It’s also something we can control fairly well. Plan balanced meals on a regular schedule. Even those of us with hectic schedules or on vacations can work with this one by keeping healthy snacks handy. Look out for fast food snacks though. They can do as much harm as good.

3. Avoid dehydration

For some people, even mild dehydration can trigger head pain, so drinking lots of fluids is essential. Take a bit of care with what you’re drinking as some fruit juices and caffeine can be triggers. Proper hydration is essential to good health in general, so you’ll be working on more than head pain prevention!

4. Play trigger detective

Doing your best Sherlock Holmes impersonation, investigate your triggers. A great ways to do this is by keeping a Headache and Migraine Diary. Remember that you may encounter a trigger up to 48 hours before a headache or Migraine begins. Your diary may reveal patterns that hadn’t been spotted before. Also, if you have many episodes with unidentified triggers, that may tell your doctor something.

5. Be a good student

We’re all ultimately responsible for our health. Learning about head pain is essential. We need to understand our condition to be able to care for ourselves, avoid episodes when possible, and lessen their impact when they can’t be avoided. WE live with these bodies 24/7, so it’s up to us to tell our doctors what they need to know. It’s also up to us to make treatment decisions for each episode.

6. Take time for yourself

We all need time to ourselves. Set aside a period of time every day that is just for you. Whether you meditate, listen to a relaxation CD, exercise a bit, or just sit quietly, use this time to focus on you, how you’re feeling, what you need. Use this time to recharge and center yourself. It will pay off, leaving you more relaxed and aware of yourself.

7. Build a support system

Do you get “the guilties?” Ever feel that you’re always complaining around your family? Relax. We all feel that way sometimes. Find others who are afflicted by head pain to talk to. There are live support groups in some places, and there are online forums and chat rooms where you can always find someone in a similar situation who will understand. You’re NOT alone.

8. Wear those shades!

Consider this an investment – a good pair of optical-grade, polarized sunglasses. Optical-grade lenses don’t have the distortion that some inexpensive lenses have. Polarization is essential for cutting glare. Sunglasses are not just for summer sun. Wear them indoors and out, whenever the light is bothersome. Add a ball cap when light comes in above the sunglasses so the bill can block that light.

9. Watch your overall health

When we have a particular health problem, it’s easy to concentrate on it and ignore our overall health. Don’t. Good overall health is essential to fighting any particular health problem. When we’re generally healthy, we have fewer health issues affecting each other and causing us problems.

10. "Don't sweat the small stuff."

So what if there’s an undone load of laundry, a few dishes in the sink, or a couple of minor household repairs to be done? These aren’t things to worry about. The house isn’t going to fall down around us. We simply can’t let little things bother us. Stress can trigger tension headaches and be an aggravator to Migraine triggers. We have to learn to prioritize and do what we’re able to do each day.


Last updated May 19, 2006

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.