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.
Several types of migraine medicines can help prevent the piercing pain of migraines, including:
Beta-blockers such as Inderal (propanalol) and Toprol (metoprolol), which relax blood vessels
Calcium channel blockers such as Cardizem (dilatizem) and verapamil, which reduce the amount of narrowing (constriction) of the blood vessels
Antidepressants such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline -- tricyclic antidepressants which have been shown to be effective in preventing migraines.
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
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
Exercise regularly. Get at least 20 minutes of exercise three times
Keep a regular routine. Eat meals and snacks at about the same times
every day, and get enough sleep at night.
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.