Taking care of yourself might help ease chronic daily headaches.
March 10, 2015
- Avoid headache triggers. Keeping a headache diary can help you determine what triggers your headaches so that you can avoid the triggers. Include details about every headache, such as when it started, what you were doing at the time and how long it lasted.
- Avoid medication overuse. Taking headache medications, including over-the-counter medications, more than twice a week can increase the severity and frequency of your headaches. Consult your doctor about how 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. Eat healthy meals at about the same times daily. Avoid food or drinks, such as those containing caffeine, that seem to trigger headaches. Lose weight if you're obese.
- Exercise regularly. Regular aerobic physical activity can improve your physical and mental well-being and 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. Try stress-reduction techniques, such as yoga, tai chi or meditation.
- Reduce 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 eliminate caffeine from your diet.
- Garza I, et al. Overview of chronic daily headache. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 6, 2015.
- Yancey JR, et al. Chronic daily headache: Diagnosis and management. American Family Physician. 2014;89:642.
- Halker RB, et al. Chronic daily headache: An evidence-based and systematic approach to a challenging problem. Neurology. 2011;76:S37.
- Headache: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/headache/detail_headache.htm. Accessed Jan. 5, 2015.
- Ahmed F, et al. Chronic daily headaches. Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology. 2012;15:S40.
- Headaches and complementary health approaches. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/pain/headachefacts.htm. Accessed Jan. 5, 2015.
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