Migraines are the second most common headache type that can endure for hours or even days. When they start elbowing in on your quality of life, you have to find the root of the problem. Dr Elliot Shevel, South Africa’s migraine research pioneer, has the following advice:
1. Dietary Headaches
These are a common affliction for women. They’re usually triggered by foods that assist with energy, such as caffeine and chocolate. Take note of which foods trigger headaches for you by keeping a diary, then avoid them. A Dietary Trigger Diary is available at www.headacheclinic.co.za free of charge. Remember that skipping meals is a surefire trigger for headaches. Eat in moderation and enjoy your meals.
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2. Posture Headaches
The way you sit at your desk can result in a tension headache. Use a good chair that supports your back and gives the ideal posture. Visit www.headacheclinic.co.za for a copy of the Ideal Computer Posture.
3. Tension Headaches
Women should take care when picking up heavy objects. This can cause muscle tension that, in turn, can lead to a tension headache. Stretch the muscles of your head, face, neck and jaw. Stretching should be gentle and soothing, not painful. Stretch your neck and jaw muscles carefully, and you should ease the tension.
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4. Medication Overuse Headaches
Medication is only appropriate for someone who suffers a few times a month. According to the International Headache Society, if you’re taking headache medication more than twice a week, you’re at risk of developing a Medication Overuse Headache. This means that the drugs you’re taking will cause the headache or migraine to become more severe and more frequent over time. The result? A spiral into constant medication use and constant pain. The more meds you take, the more pain you’re in, the more medication you need – and the cycle continues.
5. Stress Headaches
We all know these ones – anxiety and work stress can often lead to unrelenting afternoon headaches! Plan ahead to guarantee that you have enough time to complete work projects and that you get sufficient rest each night. Also take regular breaks to ensure that you don’t get overworked.
Dr Shevel suggests getting to the bottom of the problem and resolving the pain permanently, as this is possible in most cases. “If the problem persists, it’s imperative that you get an accurate diagnosis.”
Workout got you hunched over? Or just suffer from general aches in your back? We’ve also got the low-down on six ways to ease back pain – fast!