Lifestyle changes that reduce migraines

Headache

Migraines affect about 1 billion people around the world.  About 18% of women and 6% of men experience at least one migraine every year, with a lifetime risk of 43% and 18% respectively.

Triggers that can bring on a migraine attack include: Alcohol, Certain foods, Dehydration, Fasting, Lack of sleep, Too much sleep, Irregular sleeping patterns, Stress, Menstruation, Smells (perfumes), and Weather changes.

Other than taking abortive medications, which can sometimes hurt more than they help, here are some things you can do to prevent headaches:

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Exercise

Tai Chi Group

Many migraine patients avoid doing exercise because physical exertion may be one of their triggers. However, yoga, tai chi and other mind/body exercises can be useful in managing migraine.

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Food and drink

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Certain foods and drinks can trigger migraine attacks -you need to find which foods or drinks trigger your attacks and either avoid them or consume them less.  Common foods/drinks linked to migraines are: Red wine, Caffeine, Chocolate, Mature cheese (containing high levels of tyramine), Food additives & preservatives (such as aspartame and monosodium glutamate)

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Stress

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People who have a lot of stress in their lives are more likely to sufferer from frequent headaches, and migraine sufferers should find ways to lower that stress.

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Sleep

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Getting enough sleep is vital for good migraine control. Sleep deprivation has been shown to be closely linked to the frequency and severity of migraine attacks in some patients.  People who sleep less than six hours a day are more susceptible to headaches. However, too much sleep can also make things worse.  Migraine sufferers should try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

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