Controlling your headache involves both medical therapy and lifestyle changes. National Neuroscience Institute shares ways to treat and prevent headaches.
What you can do to prevent headaches
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, a healthy lifestyle is important.
Things you can do to avoid headache
Some things you can do to avoid getting a headache include:
- Identify and avoid food triggers
Get enough sleep and rest
- 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).
Limit the consumption of caffeine
- 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.
Adopt a regular exercise regimeEat regular mealsAvoid smokingManage your stress levelAvoid irregular shift work
- This may help to improve the quality of sleep and reduce the frequency of headaches.
According to the
National Neuroscience Institute, a member of the
SingHealth group, there are many ways of treating a headache. In general, though, these can be separated into symptomatic treatment to relieve the symptoms of an attack; and prophylactic treatment, which is 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 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.