Living with a headache is a challenge and can be incapacitating. The goal is to take control of your headache and not let it take control of you and your life. Apart from medical therapy, maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle is also important.

How to prevent headaches

Some things you can do to avoid getting a headache include:

  1. Identify and avoid food triggers

    • Keep a food diary and try to look out for foods that may appear to be setting off your headache
    • Common foods that may bring on a migraine attack in sufferers include cheese, chocolate, alcohol, nuts, peanut butter and monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  2. Get enough sleep and rest

    • Rest is important for almost all migraine attacks
    • Adequate sleep can abort relatively mild attacks, and may be sufficient to prevent the onset of a migraine, without the need to take medication
  3. Limit the consumption of caffeine

    • This can help to improve the quality of sleep and reduce the frequency of headaches
  4. Adopt a regular exercise regime
  5. Eat regular meals
  6. Avoid smoking
  7. Manage your stress level
  8. Avoid irregular shift work

Treatment for headaches

According to the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI) Department of Neurology, a member of the SingHealth​ group, there are many ways of treating a headache.

In general, though, th​ese can be separated into:

  • Symptomatic treatment - Relieve the symptoms of an attack; and
  • Prophylactic treatment - Aimed at preventing an attack

For more severe or disabling migraine attacks, acute management will include the use of painkillers such as NSAIDS, caffeine, ergotamine or a group of medications called triptans, the drug of choice for people who suffer severe attacks.

Preventive medications may include antidepressants, which work by affecting the level of serotonin. For patients with frequent migraine attacks, several agents including beta-blockers, anticonvulsants and benzodiazepines may be used as prophylaxis, which, over time, will reduce the frequency of attacks.

Ref: U11

Check out other articles on headaches and brain tumours:

When You Should See a Doctor for a Headache

Headache or Migraine? How to Tell the Difference

3 Most Common Types of Headaches

Common Causes of Headaches

5 Facts About Brain Tumours You Need to Know

Brain Tumour: When Is It Brain Cancer?