Headache Prevention

How to Prevent Headaches

All headache sufferers have two goals: to stop the headache they currently have and to prevent future headaches from occurring. While preventing them from ever happening again may be too much to ask for, taking measures to prevent headaches may reduce their intensity and duration. There are a number of headache triggers that cause headaches and some preventative steps you can take to reduce those triggers.

Tension

  • Improve circulation – Many headaches are caused by problems with blood vessels dilating and contracting at in appropriate times. Doing simple exercises to improve overall circulation can help. Neck exercises in the shower using warm water help relieve tension and opens up the vessels, improving circulation in the head and neck.
  • Notice your posture – At work and at home, you may increase your risk of getting a headache by assuming poor posture. Pay attention to how you are sitting in front of the computer and watching television. Like your mom always said growing up, sit up straight.
  • Get your eyes checked – You may be suffering from frequent tension headaches because your eyes are changing and you have trouble accommodating. If you need corrective lenses you should wear them to prevent the onset of headaches.
  • Stay hydrated – Drinking plenty of fluids helps keep your electrolytes in balance and also keeps your fluid volume up, these helps accommodate for changes in vessel dilation and blood pressure.
  • Avoid food triggers – You may not always be able to tell what those triggers might be, but if you suffer from frequent headaches, you might want to note what types of food you are taking in. Avoiding those foods might help prevent future headaches.
  • Sinus irrigation – Many headaches arise as a result of sinus infection. Cleaning your sinuses with over the counter nasal irrigation systems may help you avoid sinus trouble.
  • Treat TMD – Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a common trigger for headache pain. You should see a neuromuscular dentist with the expertise to diagnose and treat this condition and to prevent those types of headaches.

Migraine

  • Circulation – Migraine headaches are also circulatory in nature and may benefit from gentle neck exercises under a warm shower to improve circulation.
  • Avoid niacin – Some vitamins contain niacin, which seems to be a trigger for migraine headaches. Niacin acts as a vasodilator, which can start the vessel dilation and constriction roller coaster that cause migraines.
  • Avoid certain foods – Red wine and strong cheeses seem to be common migraine triggers. Keeping a log of the foods you eat may help identify foods that bring on migraines for you.
  • Treat TMD – Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a common trigger for migraine headaches. You should see a neuromuscular dentist with the expertise to diagnose and treat this condition and to prevent and reduce the severity of these painful headaches.

Cluster

A series of cluster headaches is like a good NFL running back: You can't stop it; you can only hope to contain it. In most cases, the cluster headache sufferer should keep a log of things that may have stimulated the headache. Unfortunately, the cyclical nature of cluster headaches seems to be closely tied to your natural circadian rhythms, which are unavoidable. Two things you can do are:

  • Avoid smoke – Smoke and other irritants may start a cluster headache episode.
  • Foods – Take note of the foods you eat to establish a history of foods that may bring about the headache.

Establishing a history of your own situation will be the best way to determine how to prevent future headaches.

Other Headaches

In most cases, treating the headache means treating the underlying causes of the headache. Some other types of headaches include:

In some cases, a doctor may be able to prescribe medication that you can take on a maintenance basis to keep your electrolytes in balance, your blood pressure down, and prevent other conditions that cause headaches. Proper headache diagnosis is important to determine if you suffer from primary headaches or if your headache is a result of some other medical conditions. Treating that condition can help prevent secondary headaches. We offer headache prevention consultations from iHATEheadaches. Please contact us today!

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