A Guide to Managing Chronic Headaches
It’s common for almost everyone to get headaches from time to time, but if you get headaches frequently or have them more days than you don’t have them, you might have chronic headaches. Suffering from this condition can dramatically affect your day-to-day life since a headache can be debilitating and can come on seemingly without notice.
If you have chronic headaches, here are some ways you can help manage the pain and stress.
Learn what your triggers are
In order to find ways to avoid causing a headache, it’s important to figure out what are the causes of your chronic headaches. A good idea to find out what your triggers are is by keeping a headache journal. Whenever you get a headache, write down when it started, what you were doing at the time, what you had eaten or drank the day prior, and how long it lasted. Over time, you may notice some patterns start to pop up, and you can begin to pinpoint what activities or dietary choices are triggering your headaches.
Limit your caffeine intake
Your overall diet is important, but caffeine is often a major trigger for headaches. Caffeine can help with pain relief in small amounts, which is why it’s included in some headache medications, but too much caffeine can aggravate headaches. Drinking even a single cup of coffee from Starbucks can be too much of daily caffeine intake in itself and can cause headaches. It’s best to limit the amount of caffeine you have in a day, or even completely eliminate it from your diet if possible.
Avoid overusing medication
Medication for headaches, including over-the-counter medications like Aleve, Advil and Motrin IB, can help to alleviate the pain, but taking too much can also cause rebound headaches. Taking medicine more than three times per week can also increase the frequency and severity of your headaches. If you are taking medications frequently, it’s advisable to speak to your doctor on how to wean yourself off them, because stopping cold turkey can cause serious side effects and continuing to take too many can make it worse.
Get plenty of sleep
On average, adults need seven to ten hours of sleep each night to be healthy and have enough energy. A lack of sleep can be a trigger for headaches because your body is tired, so a good practice to help reduce the number of headaches you get is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, and if you’re having trouble with sleep or experiencing sleep disturbances, speak to your doctor.
Eat a healthy diet
What you eat can trigger your headaches, so eating a healthy diet is generally a good way to keep your headaches at bay. Limiting the amount of sugar or processed foods and choosing more lean meats and fresh vegetables not only helps minimize headaches but also keeps the rest of your body healthy, so you don’t gain weight and add extra complications. It’s also important not to skip meals and to eat smaller, healthier meals at roughly the same time each day.
Get regular exercise
Regular exercise is an excellent way to improve your physical and mental health and well-being, which can help reduce the number of headaches you get, as well as keep stress at bay. Having a hobby that is physical, like playing a sport or doing yoga, is a great way to keep yourself physical during the week, especially if you have a job that doesn’t offer a lot in terms of exercise. If you don’t exercise often enough, speak to your doctor about which activities you can get started on that you enjoy but won’t injure you.
Chronic headaches treatment at Icon Medical Centers
If you suffer from headaches regularly, it may be time for you to stop by our chiropractic clinic. Chiropractic treatment may help to reduce the frequency of your chronic type tension headaches by realigning the spine. Chiropractic adjustments can help to relieve any pressure that may be applied on your spinal nerves, which could be the cause of your headaches.