Headaches seem to be more common during stressful times (or
right after you've relaxed from one). Add regular stress-reduction activities
to your daily schedule to help prevent headaches.
Get regular aerobic exercise. Walking, cycling,
jogging, swimming, or even dancing or gardening are great ways to relieve
stress. If you tend to hold tension in your neck and shoulders, walking may be
especially helpful. The swinging motion of the arms seems to relax those
Practice a relaxation exercise once or twice a day for 10
to 20 minutes. Massage is also relaxing, whether from a professional or a
If problems at home, work, school, or in your
personal relationships are causing stress, don't ignore them. Talk with a
trusted friend, clergy member, or health professional. Find a way to express
your feelings and try to resolve the situation. Keeping your problems inside
can increase stress and lead to headaches.
Stay on a regular sleep
schedule. Try to go to sleep and get up at nearly the same time every day. Try
hard not to take naps, even if you are very tired. Irregular sleep habits are
headache triggers in many people.
Find a healthy outlet for the
stresses of daily life. Exercise, do arts and crafts, write in a journal, play
with children or pets, watch a funny movie, read, or cook a healthy meal.
Whatever activities give you pleasure can also help relieve stress.
Stress is sometimes the result of unconscious or involuntary
negative thoughts you may have in response to a stressful situation or a
problem. Professional counseling may help you recognize these negative ways of
coping with stress and replace them with others that don't cause as much
About 1 out of 8 Americans has migraines. They usually begin during the teenage years. After puberty, migraines are more likely to affect girls and women.
Experts still aren't sure what causes these headaches. But they seem to involve a wave of unusual activity in brain nerve cells, along with changes in blood flow in the brain.
Though migraines can trigger severe pain in the head, they aren't simply headaches. They often also cause other uncomfortable symptoms, such as: