Whether or not you take preventive medications, you may benefit from lifestyle changes that can help reduce the number and severity of headaches. One or more of these suggestions may be helpful for you:
March 18, 2015
Avoid triggers. If certain foods or odors seem to have triggered your headaches in the past, avoid them. Your doctor may recommend you reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake and avoid tobacco.
In general, establish a daily routine with regular sleep patterns and regular meals. In addition, try to control stress.
Exercise regularly. Regular aerobic exercise reduces tension and can help prevent headaches. If your doctor agrees, choose any aerobic exercise you enjoy, including walking, swimming and cycling.
Warm up slowly, however, because sudden, intense exercise can cause headaches.
Obesity is also thought to be a factor in headaches, and regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight.
Reduce the effects of estrogen. If you're a woman who has headaches and estrogen seems to trigger or make your headaches worse, you may want to avoid or reduce the medications you take that contain estrogen.
These medications include birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. Talk with your doctor about the appropriate alternatives or dosages for you.
- Patel ZM, et al. Evaluation and management of "sinus headache" in the otolaryngology practice. Otolaryngology Clinics of North America. 2014;47:269.
- Sinusitis. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/ear_nose_and_throat_disorders/nose_and_paranasal_sinus_disorders/sinusitis.html?qt=sinus%20headache&sc=&alt=sh. Accessed Jan. 23, 2015.
- Levine H, et al. Why the confusion about sinus headache? Otolaryngology Clinics of North America. 2014;47:169.
- Sinus infection (sinusitis). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/URI/sinus-infection.html. Accessed Jan. 23, 2015.
- Bajwa CH, et al. Headache syndrome other than migraine. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 24, 2015.
- Sinus headaches. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/content/sinus-headaches. Accessed Jan. 23, 2015.
- O'Brien EK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 2, 2015.
- Headache: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/headache/detail_headache.htm#142883138. Accessed Jan. 19, 2015.
- Bajwa ZH, et al. Acute treatment of migraine in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 12, 2015.
- Chai NC, et al. Migraine and estrogen. Current Opinion in Neurology. 2014;27:315.