Dehydration Headache is a regular problem especially for people with migraine. Lack of water is often reported as responsible for bringing on a migraine attack. In one study 90% of people with migraine said that they were dehydrated on the day of a migraine attack.
Here’s why you should take simple steps to maintain a good water intake….
One well documented observation was by a meticulous Portuguese Engineer.
He set a timer to alarm every 15 minutes to remind him to sip some water. His daily water intake increased by almost 2 litres at that time.
He realised that during weeks of timer-triggered water-drinking his headaches reduced by about 50% compared to weeks when he drank normally (<200ml per day of water).
Again a very simple intervention, which could have a significant impact.
There has been a recent clinical trial studying the effect of water drinking on migraine headaches (pilot study in 2005, and full trial in 2012). A Dutch group of researchers concluded that a reduction in perception of headache, and improvements in Quality of Life were possible by increasing water intake by about 1.5 litres per day.
Dehydration is a plausible, but unproven mechanism for headache. In another study, staff at a Migraine Clinic were asked about whether dehydration caused headaches (whether you had a history of migraine or not). Staff at this clinic described a non-specific dehydration headache which was relieved by drinking more water.
Always remember that water must be clean and safe to drink. In parts of the world where tap water quality is not assured, hydration can be maintained by drinking other fluids such as bottled drinks, or hot drinks like tea or milk.
Blau JN et al. Water-deprivation headache: a new headache with two variants. 2004 Jan;44(1):79-83.
Spigt MG et al. Increasing the daily water intake for the prophylactic treatment of headache: a pilot trial. European Journal of Neurology 2005;12:715-8.
Spigt M et al A randomized trial on the effects of regular water intake in patients with recurrent headaches. Fam Pract. 2012 Aug;29(4):370-5