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Behavioral Changes To Reduce Headaches

by Emilie Mayer / Dec 12, 2016 / category : headache / 4034 views
Behavioral Changes To Reduce Headaches

As suggested previously, if you can identify the triggers that cause your headache attacks, it becomes a relatively simple matter to change or remove those triggers from your life to reduce the severity of your problem.

However, there are other lifestyle changes that you can make which some doctors believe will reduce the frequency and severity of headaches that many chronic headache sufferers have to contend with. Hence, if you are having difficulty pinning down a specific reason why you suffer chronic headaches or migraine, you might consider making some of these changes to see whether they are effective for you.

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One such change that many physicians believe will help to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches and migraines is taking 20 or 30 minutes of regular aerobic exercise every day. To a degree, this makes a great deal of sense because taking regular exercise achieves many objectives which, whilst they may not remove or reduce headaches directly will nevertheless have many benefits, amongst which may be the reduction of tension type or migraine headaches.

For example, if you suffer a tension type headache because of stress, one of the best ways of working stress out is by running or cycling.

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Similarly, many people suffer tension type headaches as a result of anger or frustration, and once again, exercise is a great way of working these feelings out.

The concept of exercise as a way of reducing the severity and frequency of headaches makes a great deal of sense on many levels and if you do suffer, it would definitely be worth starting a program of regular exercise to see whether this helps reduce the problem.

Another change that often helps people to overcome headaches is to take more sleep and to do so more regular times. For most people in the modern world, getting enough sleep is never easy but it is a fact that one of the direct results of a lack of sleep is a headache.

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Whether your problem is chronic tension type headaches or migraines, it is often true that sleeping the problem off is a highly effective way of dealing with it, assuming that the pain is not so bad that it prevents you from going to sleep in the first place.

As suggested earlier, diet is a very important consideration when it comes to getting rid of headache problem as well. Common migraine and headache triggers foods include those that contain tyramine like red wine, smoked fish, aged cheese and figs, whilst other foods such as chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, bananas and dairy produce are also known to cause headache and migraine problem. Consequently, you should be particularly cautious with foods of this nature if headaches or migraine are a problem.

Other experts suggest that aspartame might trigger headaches and/or migraines in some people, although this has not as yet been conclusively proven.

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However, in a placebo-based test, it was established that people who were given monosodium glutamate were far more likely to develop headaches and migraines than people given a placebo, hence there is little doubt that MSG can be a cause of chronic headaches and migraines.

Another change that can help chronic tension type headache or migraine sufferers is to break the cycle of the problem. In many cases, when people are a chronic headache or migraine sufferer, the cycle of the condition follows a particular predictable path and breaking the path or cycle can be effective for reducing the severity of future attacks.

As suggested when looking at the situation where your headaches are caused by stress earlier, breaking the cycle involves making a conscious mental effort to step back from the situation when you feel your headache coming on.

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To do this, having the ability to relax totally whilst breathing deeply will certainly help, as will the ability to practice visualization or auto hypnosis.

In both of these situations, you use your mind to control the way that your body is reacting, effectively telling yourself that the pain is nowhere near as bad as you initially believed it to be.

Some people doubt whether visualization or auto hypnosis can be effective but the fact is, both practices can be learned and mastered and they are both very effective for reducing the severity of the pain that you consciously feel.

Think of it this way.

Have you ever noticed that once you have taken an analgesic painkiller, you often feel better almost instantly despite the fact that the drugs in the painkiller have not had anywhere near enough time to work? This is a classic example of your subconscious mind controlling the conscious by convincing it that the pain is going away despite the fact that the drug in question is not in fact effective yet.

How can you avoid the weather? The simple and most obvious answer to this question is, you cannot avoid the weather, which is unfortunate because there is some evidence that the weather can cause of headaches and migraines.

One study of regular migraine sufferers established that 62% of subjects who were questioned believed that the weather had an effect on their condition, although only 51% of the subjects tested appear to be sensitive to weather changes.

Nevertheless, it does appear to be true that changes in the weather can trigger tension type headaches and migraines, with the likelihood of this happening being increased by the following changes (listed in descending order of importance):

• High or low temperatures combined with high humidity appears to be the combination of weather conditions most likely to bring on a headache or migraine;
• Sudden major weather changes;
• A sudden drop or increase in barometric pressure.

A further study established that when migraine sufferers were subjected to a strong chinook wind, they became more likely to get a migraine, possibly because of the increased number of positively charged irons in the air.

Of course, if you are a headache or migraine sufferer, it is almost impossible to avoid the adverse effects of the weather completely. However, on those days when weather conditions make it likely that you will suffer an attack, it might make sense to stay indoors, especially if you can take refuge in an air-conditioned environment so that the weather has less effect.

Be careful how you wash your hair!

A study of 94 subjects in India established that for some people who suffered migraine attacks, washing their hair whilst in the bath induced an attack!

Furthermore, the same study also established that the way people chose to dry their hair after washing it seemed to induce migraine attacks in certain individuals as well. This seems to indicate that even something as simple and basic as washing your hair might act as a migraine or headache ‘trigger’ in some people, so even if this is something that you would never have thought of as a potential trigger, you should do.

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