Updated: Jul 14, 2022
Did you know that more than 10 million Americans are suffering from regular migraines, and migraines add approximately 13 to $17 billion to our health care costs every year? Are you one of these people? Does this affect your productivity at work and in your daily life? If so, then these four prevention tips will be something you need to hear.
The first thing I'd like to talk about is hydration, we need to make sure we're hydrating at a cellular level. Studies show that even small electrolyte changes can lead to headaches, and many of us don't get enough water. A simple rule you can follow if you're not sure how much water to drink in a day is to drink half your body weight in water. You also want to make sure that you're sipping water throughout the day instead of chugging it all at once. Some of us have a tendency to drink most of our water with meals, which can actually affect digestion. So we want to try to keep your water making by you during your workday or people water bottle at hand so that you're getting that hydration regularly throughout your day, and keeping yourself hydrated.
Now let's talk about sleep. Sleep in itself can lead to headaches, and in particular, migraines have an association with a decreased amount of REM sleep, we need to prioritize sleep. And sometimes that's something that's not easy to do. If you're struggling with this, some things you can do to help get a better night's sleep is turn off all full spectrum lights for a complete one to two hours before bed. I know sometimes it's hard to turn off that phone, but it will benefit you. Also, avoid stimulating your brain with work or planning before bed. It's not the time to do the to-do list for the next day. Make sure that's done earlier in the day. So you're not having those racing thoughts right before but it's also important to keep your room cool, dark, and quiet. Some things you can do are out a fan to your room, you can get an eye mask, you can use room darkening shades, anything that keeps your room very comfortable so you're not waking up through the night. Another tip is to avoid caffeinated foods and drinks after 2 pm. I once had a patient who couldn't figure out why she couldn't fall asleep at night and she said I'm not drinking any coffee. I don't have tea in the evening. And she just couldn't solve it. Once we figured out every night, she had an after-dinner snack of dark chocolate, we found the culprit of why she couldn't sleep at night. So make sure you're evaluating what caffeinated drinks and food you were eating in the evening. Another thing you can do is calm your digestion by limiting food for three hours before bed. Sometimes when we're still digesting food, it makes it more difficult for us to sleep.
3. Reduce Stress
The next thing I'd like to talk about is stress. And headaches in particular stress can become a cycle because the pain in itself is stressful. And when we have increased stress, we end up with increased cortisol levels. And when that happens, we actually release another hormone called prolactin, and prolactin can increase pain sensitivity. So you get this cycle of pain, creating stress, creating pain. So it's very important for people who are suffering from chronic headaches or migraines to find activities that are calming and stress-reducing. You can do anything that resonates with you. But some things I've found helpful for people are meditation, gratitude, journaling, rounding, going for a walk outside, even physical exercise can be a release for people under stress. I know we all want to get our to-do list done and we just have a few more things. But it's important to take that time to rest your body especially if you're someone who is prone to chronic headaches and bring yourself back into that parasympathetic state.
4. Clean up Your Environment
Another thing you can do when looking at preventing chronic headaches and migraines is to evaluate your environmental triggers. We know that people with high levels of cadmium or lead can be more prone to get chronic headaches. To figure out if that could be you could do a heavy metal test. Also, environmental triggers like allergies can make us more prone to getting headaches. When we are around allergic triggers we do tend to get more congestion and more sinus pressure, which can be a contributing factor.
I hope these tips were helpful and easy for you to as your everyday life. chronic headaches are such a problem for so many people. And by following some simple strategies. Hopefully, you can see the difference that I've seen in others.
Because I have seen such amazing transformations for people I have been working hard on Head Strong: Happiness Beyond Headaches. To stay up to receive the latest information on this program and bonus offers sign up on the early interest list at: www.happinessbeyoneheadaches.com