The Headache Friendly Lifestyle is a way of living that will reduce your risk of headache.
You make a commitment to look after yourself as well as you can - both physically and mentally.
A Headache Friendly Lifestyle means:
Use a great diet to get and keep a healthy body weight
- Increased weight and headaches are linked. If you know you are overweight, then committing to a plan to reduce weight is very important for your overall health as well as headache health.
- Most people who attend me will use commercial weight loss programmes like Slimming World or Weight Watchers who emphasise overall lifestyle
- The food industry has a lot to answer for. The obesity epidemic is largely due to the change in how and what we eat. The World Health Organisation now recommends that no more than 5% of your calories come from sugar - this means that anything you eat that contains more than 5g sugar per 100g weight is contributing to obesity!
- It is known that a Body Mass Index of 30 or over increases your risk of getting Chronic Daily Headache. I strongly recommend that you read about Australian Lawyer David Gillespie's own story called Sweet Poison - it will change your thinking on weight loss forever.
Keeping hydrated (drinking plenty of water)
- 90% of people with migraine will have worked out that deydration can be an issue.
- 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 show improved Quality of Life with regular water drinking
- Headaches are better controlled if your routine is regular and you eat well.
- Feelings of hunger or cravings for chocolate and cheese are probably due to a process in the brain called the migraine prodrome. 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.
- Poor sleep and bad headaches usually go hand in hand.
- One study of worst type of migraine (chronic migraine) found a 30% improvement in headaches just by getting people to pay attention to their sleep quality.
Regular gentle or moderate exercise (walking is best)
- There is no doubt that walking regularly improves your mental and physical health. There are research studies that show a reduction in headaches, equivalent to standard migraine prevention drugs with moderate amounts of exercise.
- Exercise is essential for people who are trying to rebuild their lives when they have severe headaches.
- If you are not used to walking, a pedometer or step counter is a great way to get started and stay motivated - you should be aiming for 10,000 steps per day. You could try any of the free apps for your smartphone or consider using a pedometer.
A Headache Friendly Lifestyle moves you away from the negative idea of 'headache triggers'.
Positive Lifestyle Choices are Better than Trigger Avoidance
For years and years people have talked about headache triggers.
Looking for headache triggers, removing them and waiting to see if headaches stop is an exhausting process doomed to fail. If you have migraine, at some point a headache will re-appear and you will feel like a failure.
It is much better to take a POSITIVE approach and look for healthy things to ADD IN and do.
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