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12 Tips for a Headache Free Year
National Headache Awareness Week 2006

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Optimal health care can be achieved
only when patients are educated
about their health and patients and
physicians work together as
treatment partners in an
atmosphere of mutual respect.



In observance of National Headache Awareness Week, the National Headache Foundation offers us 12 tips for a headache free year...

Tips #1 and #2: Scheduling a Realistic Day

Schedule a realistic day (tip #1). Avoid the tendency to schedule back-to-back appointments. Allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments (tip #2). This way, unexpected delays won’t make you late and you can give yourself a breathing spell. Being kind to yourself in this fashion will also result in your appointments being more productive.

Tip #3: Ergonomic Work Space

Wherever you work, make sure your work space is ergonomically designed from your chair to your computer keyboard. Using a non-glare computer screen and proper lighting can also be helpful. Need some help with this? Check out Head Pain at Work? Check the Lighting!

Tip #4: Get unpleasant tasks out of the way!

Whether your job is in the outside work force or taking care of your home and children, there will be unpleasant tasks. They may be just boring, messy, or situations that involve other people. Whatever the situation, if an especially unpleasant task faces you, do it early in the day; then the rest of your day will be free of anxiety.

Tips #5 and #6: Oh, those mornings!

Mornings... well, mornings aren't my cup of tea. Unfortunately, the morning often sets the tone for the rest of the day. A bit of planning can take some of the sting out of mornings and make the rest of the day easier. Get up fifteen minutes earlier (tip #5) in the morning. The inevitable morning mishaps will be less stressful. Prepare for the morning the evening before (tip #6). Set the breakfast table, make lunches, put out the clothes you plan to wear, etc.

Tip #7: Write it down.

We often talk about writing down the questions we have for our doctors since we always forget at least some of them by the time we get to the office. I'm living proof that anything that needs to be remembered should be written down. Don’t rely on your memory. Write down appointment times, when to pick up the laundry, when library books are due, etc. Crossing tasks off of your list gives a sense of accomplishment.

Tip #8: If it's broken, do something about it!

We have enough aggravations without putting up with unnecessary annoyances and inconveniences. Don’t put up with something that doesn’t work. If your toaster, alarm clock, windshield wipers-or other item-is a source of aggravation, get them fixed or replace them. Don't forget that you can also delegate some of these tasks. We are not superheroes; we do not have to do everything ourselves.

Tip #9: Check your breathing...

Check your breathing throughout the day, and before, during, and after high-pressure situations. If you find your stomach muscles are knotted and your breathing is shallow, relax all your muscles and take several deep, slow breaths. A good practice is to always take nice deep breaths from your diaphragm. One way to practice diaphragmatic breathing is to lie on the floor with a large book on your diaphragm. If you're breathing correctly, your diaphragm should be moving the book as you breathe; shoulder movement should be minimal. Ladies, your mother may have told you to practice walking with a book on your head. Now you can practice breathing with it on your diaphragm. :-)

Tip #10: Try a Yoga technique...

You don't have to sit in this position. Just sit up straight so you can breath deeply, but be comfortable. Inhale deeply through your nose to the count of eight. Then, with lips puckered, exhale very slowly through your mouth for 16 counts, or for as long as you can. Concentrate on the long sighing sound and feel the tension dissolve. Repeat 10 times. This breathing technique can also help deal with pain at times. Give it a try whenever you're trying to deal with pain, destress, refocus, or even fighting nausea. You'll find a great many uses for it.

Tip #11: Use your weekend...

Use your weekend time for a change of pace. If your work week is slow and patterned, build action and time for spontaneity into your weekends. If your work week is fast-paced and full of deadlines, seek peace and solitude during your days off. However, in changing your pace, take care not to alter sleep and meal patterns. Those patterns should remain consistent as altering them can actually trigger headaches and Migraines. For example: sleeping in on weekends can actually be a bad thing when you're trying to avoid headaches and Migraine attacks.

Tip #12: "You" time...

Allow yourself time – every day – for privacy, quiet, and introspection. It's often considered good or noble to put our families or jobs first, but how much good can we really do them if we're not at our best? One way to be sure we're at our best is to remember that we all deserve time to ourselves. However you prefer to spend that time, you deserve it.


© Teri Robert, 2006

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NOTE: The information on this site is for education and support only. It is not medical advice and should not be construed as such. Always consult your physician if you have new or different symptoms. Never change your treatment regimen or add herbals, supplements, etc., without consulting your doctor.

 The American Headache and Migraine Association (AHMA)...

a patient-focused, patient-driven organization for patients with Migraine and
other headache disorders and their family, friends, and care partners.
Anyone interested in the concerns or patients with these disorders is welcome to join.

The AHMA exists to EASE the burden of Migraine and other headache disorders through Education, Awareness, Support, and Engagement.


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NOTE: The information on this site is for education and support only. It is not medical advice and should not be construed as such. Always consult your physician if you have new or different symptoms. Never change your treatment regimen or add herbals, supplements, etc., without consulting your doctor.

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