Protecting Against Headaches


Each year, the National Headache Foundation (NHF) recognizes Headache Awareness Week in June in order to bring attention to the nationwide problem of headaches and to encourage sufferers to recognize their headache patterns and seek help. According to the NHF, 29.5 million Americans suffer from migraine pain and associated symptoms, which is equivalent to 13% of the population, with one in every four U.S. households having a migraine sufferer.

Migraines are more than just “bad headaches.” These severe headaches are usually accompanied by a combination of nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise. While causes differ among sufferers, experts believe the root cause of all migraines can be traced to chemical reactions in the brain. Treatment for migraines may include over-the-counter or prescription medications and self-help techniques such as relaxation training.

Most migraine sufferers report a “trigger” that will lead to a migraine. Triggers include certain physical or environmental factors, such as foods, hormonal changes, and stress. Weather is also considered a trigger among some sufferers, including:

  • A change in climate/weather, altitude, or barometric pressure
  • High winds
  • Traveling
  • Bright or flickering light, including sunlight reflections, glare, fluorescent lighting, TV, or movies
  • Extremes of heat and sound

With summertime upon us, it is important to recognize the impact of the sun’s potential harm. Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes against the sun’s bright rays and glare can help ward off some headache triggers. Additionally, when you know are out in the sun for extend periods of time remember to stay hydrated to keep your core body temperature from rising too rapidly, which can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke in its most severe form.

Headaches are unfortunately a part of many Americans’ lives, but recognizing the factors that cause them may help reduce their frequency and effect on day-to-day activities.

If headaches are interfering with your day-to-day life, click here to find a physician.

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