Although certain headaches could be heralding certain conditions (we’ll get to that in a bit), most headaches can be managed with a few guidelines.
My mentor always compares headaches with fires. There are many fuels that keep them going, so in order to keep them at bay, you may need to remove each trigger.
Here are a few that are simple enough to follow and make quite a difference for the majority of individuals:
1) Adequate Hydration
– it may seem obvious to you, but 8 glasses of water should be aimed at aka 2 litres. If you also experience dizziness when standing, you may consider switching one of those glasses of water for gatorade or another electrolyte-rich drink. Sodas do not count as electrolyte-rich drinks, avoid them for your own good.
2) Regular Sleeping Schedule
– this one is a tough one. Like most people, I enjoy sleeping in on weekends. Then BAM, headache. Aim to go to bed around the same time, and wake up around the same time during weekdays and try not to shift it too much on the weekend.
3) Regular Eating Schedule
– Breakfast is your new best friend. If you skip it, your body goes without food from whenever your dinner was (assuming there isn’t a midnight fridge date), till your lunch the next day. Brains don’t like that much. Eat regularly, and at regular times. Don’t skip meals.
4) Healthy Eating Schedule
– Try eating balanced meals that give you energy until the next one.
5) Stress Management
– If your headaches are likelier to happen with mood swings or when you are stressed, it is crucial that you learn how to manage that stress. Some individuals are more likely to translate those emotions into pain and certain relaxation techniques could really help. If this is your case, it may be helpful to ask your physician if they know a pain psychologist/ headache psychologist who may assist you in that.
– Regular exercise is a simple and cost-effective way to release some of that stress
6) The headache Journal
– make note of the frequency and timing of your headaches. You may start to see a pattern. Certain women may get them more frequently or exclusively during certain times of their cycle.
– See if your headaches occur more frequently in the morning or at the end of the day
– you may realize that your headaches could be related to certain wines you drink, or certain chocolates or cheeses. These may not be triggers to everyone. Find out what fuels yours.
here are some instances where you may want to consult with your general physician sooner rather than later
– worst headache or your life, described often as a thunderclap. People generally go to the ER rather rapidly with these symptoms.
– headaches that are accompanied by nausea and vomiting immediately upon awakening, or perhaps even awakening you in the middle of the night.
– headaches that have changed in either their intensity or location
– always in the same location
– located in the back of your head
– headaches preceded/accompanied by neurological symptoms (numbness/tingling/weakness/speech difficulty/vertigo/dizziness/double vision/blurry vision/seeing stars/flashes of light, vision loss), this may be migraine with aura, or a sign of stroke. If you are known to have migraines with aura, you are still at a higher risk of stroke, and smoking is strongly discouraged.
– frequent/debilitating headaches resulting in absenteeism, please see your physician. They may have preventive or abortive medication that could help.
– inew headaches or accompanied by weight loss, malaise, general weakness, low-grade fever or night sweats, new neurological symptoms (see above) please see a physician.
– If your child has headaches
– THIS IS NOT A MEDICAL CONSULT, IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBT REGARDING YOUR HEADACHES, PLEASE SEE YOUR PHYSICIAN.