Taking good care of yourself can help prevent chronic daily headaches.

  • Avoid headache triggers. If you're not sure what triggers your headaches, keep a headache diary. Include details about every headache. When did it start? What were you doing at the time? What did you eat that day? How did you sleep the night before? What was your stress level? How long did the headache last? What, if anything, provided relief? Eventually, you may begin to see a pattern — and be able to take steps to prevent future headaches.
  • Avoid medication overuse. Taking headache medications, including over-the-counter medications, more than twice a week can actually increase the severity and frequency of your headaches. If you are taking medication too often, it is important to consult your doctor about how best to wean yourself off the medication because there can be serious side effects if done improperly.
  • Get enough sleep. The average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep a night. It's best to go to bed and wake up at regular times, as well.
  • Don't skip meals. Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Eat lunch and dinner at about the same time every day. Avoid any food or drinks, such as those containing caffeine, that seem to trigger headaches.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular aerobic physical activity can improve your physical and mental well-being. Exercise also helps reduce stress. With your doctor's OK, choose activities you enjoy — such as walking, swimming or cycling. To avoid injury, start slowly.
  • Reduce stress. Stress is a common trigger of chronic headaches. Get organized. Simplify your schedule. Plan ahead. Stay positive. Most headaches caused by stress end when the period of stress is over.
  • Relax. Try yoga, meditation or relaxation exercises. Set aside time to slow down. Listen to music, read a book or take a hot bath.
  • Reduce your caffeine. While some headache medications include caffeine because it can be beneficial in reducing headache pain, it can also aggravate headaches. Try to minimize, or better yet, eliminate caffeine from your diet.
Mar. 15, 2012

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