Keeping a diary may be useful to determine a pattern of triggers. Avoidance of these triggers may reduce the number of headaches. Triggers may include: certain foods, hunger, eye- strain, poor posture, stress, anxiety, anger etc.
Avoid situations that may cause a tension headache. This can include keeping warm if the headache is associated with cold, using a different pillow or sleeping position, or similar changes.
Use good posture when reading, working, or involved in activities that may cause a headache. Exercise the neck and shoulders frequently.
Exercise regularly. Regular aerobic exercise reduces tension and can help prevent migraines. If your doctor agrees, choose any aerobic exercise you enjoy, including walking, swimming and cycling. Warm up slowly, however, because sudden, intense exercise can cause headaches.
Alcohol may trigger attacks during the period headaches occur, so avoidance of all alcohol during these periods will reduce headache frequency. During headache free periods, alcohol does not appear to trigger attacks.
Manage stress. In addition to regular exercise, techniques such as biofeedback training and relaxation therapy can help reduce stress. Biofeedback teaches you to control certain body responses that help reduce pain. During a biofeedback session, you’re connected to devices that monitor and give you feedback on body functions such as muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure. You then learn how to reduce muscle tension and slow your heart rate and breathing yourself. The goal of biofeedback is to help you enter a relaxed state so that you can better cope with your pain. Ask your doctor whether such a program might help you.
Dietary modifications that exclude common food triggers may help you pinpoint just what is causing your headaches. Although the list of potential food triggers is long (see the Dos and Don’ts section for a comprehensive list), the most common are chocolate, red wine, caffeine, MSG, Aspartame, cured meats, aged cheese, nuts, nitrate, sulfites, alcohol and ice cream. This diet excludes all common headache triggers, yet is still nutritionally balanced. Try following it for several weeks to see if it doesn’t help reduce the number and severity of your headaches.
Irregular sleep patterns. Changes in your normal sleep patterns (especially taking afternoon naps) seem to trigger cluster headaches.
Headache Prevention Tips: Breathing Exercises
A major cause of headache is chronic stress and related emotions such as frustration and irritability. One main body area affected by chronic stress is the upper back, neck and shoulders, which become tight, tense and painful. Slow, deep breathing exercises are a superb way to calm your mind, relax your body, reduce the effects of chronic stress and improve your ability to deal with it.