Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Migraines & Headaches Health Center

Select An Article
Font Size

Coping With Migraines and Headaches

Anyone who has ever had a migraine or a headache that just won't go away can attest to how debilitating they can be. The excruciating pain can make functioning impossible. But, there are coping techniques that can make living with headaches manageable. You can find relief in medications, alternative treatments, and by learning ways to reduce stress and relax.

Here are some ways to keep migraines and headaches at bay.

Recommended Related to Migraines/Headaches

Understanding Migraine -- Prevention

For anyone who endures frequent or severe migraines, preventing these painful headaches is a top concern. Experts don't know exactly what causes migraines. But they have been able to identify medications to help prevent them.  People with frequent or severe migraine attacks can sometimes help prevent migraines if they: Adopt lifestyle changes Avoid migraine triggers Use preventive medications or devices

Read the Understanding Migraine -- Prevention article > >

  • Follow your headache treatment plan. Avoid taking medications that have not been ordered by your doctor.
  • Reduce emotional stress. Take time to relax and take time away from stressful situations. Learn relaxation skills, such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Reduce physical stress. Proper rest and sleep will allow you to deeply relax so you can face the stressors of the new day. When sitting for prolonged periods, get up and stretch periodically. Relax your jaw, neck, and shoulders.
  • Exercise regularly. Get at least 20 minutes of exercise three times a week.
  • Keep a regular routine. Eat meals and snacks at about the same times every day, and get enough sleep at night.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking can trigger headaches and make any headache, especially cluster headaches, worse. Ask your doctor for information about smoking cessation programs in your community.
  • Know your headache triggers. Keep a headache diary to keep track of what triggers your headaches and avoid these triggers in the future.
  • Preventive therapy. Women who often get headaches around their menstrual period can take preventive therapy when they know their period is coming.

In addition to these headache coping tips, there are organizations and support groups that may be able to help.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on April 19, 2012
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

woman receiving acupuncture
14 alternative methods for migraine relief.
woman with migraine
Get the truth about migraines.
 
headache in the bedroom
Keep headaches from ruining your sex life.
desert heat
12 surprising headache triggers.
 
woman with migraine
Quiz
drinking coffee
Article
 
Migraines Headaches Basics
Article
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Slideshow
 
young woman with migraine
Articles
spraying perfume
Article
 
man with a headache
Article
headache in the bedroom
Article
 

Special Sections