What is meant by a Headache Friendly Lifestyle?
It is basically a way of looking after yourself that will reduce the amount of headache you experience.
Watch this short video summary or read on.
You need to make sure that you:
- Sleep Well
- Avoid Hunger
- Keep Hydrated
- Exercise Regularly (without over-doing it)
- Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
You need to avoid the negative approach of Trigger Avoidance.
What you need to do is make positive choices to improve your health.
Positive Lifestyle Choices are Better than Trigger Avoidance
However a better way is not to try and identify triggers to AVOID, but to take a more POSITIVE approach and look for healthy things to ADD IN and do.
Look at the issue of Migraine Food Triggers - it is so easy to develop an unhealthy obsession.
Based upon research evidence, these things can reduce your risk of headache and form the basis of The Headache Friendly Lifestyle:
Improving your sleep pattern
Poor sleep and bad headaches usually go hand in hand.
One study of chronic migraine (the worst type of migraine with continuous severe headaches) found a 30% improvement in headaches frequency and intensity just by getting people like you to pay attention to Sleep Hygiene.
People who do not eat well, skip meals and eat snacks at irregular hours probably increase their chance of a migraine.
Hunger is reported by a majority of people with migraine as something that seems to bring one on.
Feelings of hunger or cravings for chocolate and cheese could, however, be brought on by the migraine process itself - migraine building up in the brain almost certainly changes how you think and feel about food by altering your appetite and motivation.
A stringent restricted diet is not recommended as part of the Headache Friendly Lifestyle. It is much more important to enjoy what you eat.
The anxiety of worrying about what you are about to eat is more harmful.
Drink Plenty Water
90% of people with migraine will have worked out that deydration can be an issue. Try and drink a reasonable amount of water each day.
The amount you need will depend on your environment.If you live in the Arizona desert you will need more than if you live somewhere less warm like the UK.
About 1500ml is probably about right for most people who do not have kidney, heart or other diseases where fluid intake is restricted. Research studies support the use of regular water drinking as a way of improving the Quality of Life of people with headaches.
When it comes to looking at the scientific evidence, exercise to help headaches a bit more controversial.
Exercise is essential for people who are trying to rebuild their lives when they have severe headaches.
5. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Weight gain and headaches are connected. It is known that a Body Mass Index of 30 or over increases your risk of getting Chronic Daily Headache.
If you are overweight, then you need take a long term view of your health, as a healthy body mass is a key part of the Headache Friendly Lifestyle.
Losing weight is not something that is done on the spur-of-the-moment.
Joining a weight management group is probably the most effective way of achieving weight loss. Most of my own patients who lose weight successfully follow commercial weight management programmes.
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