Stress and Headaches- Dean - WI

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Stress and Headaches

Stress and Headaches

Headaches are nearly universal. In fact, less than 5% of the population has never had a headache. The two most common types of headaches are tension and migraine.

People often notice that their headaches are much worse during or after stressful times. It is common for people who suffer from migraines, for example, to get more migraine headaches when they are under stress.

Interestingly, in some patients who suffer from migraines, the headaches come on after the stress has cleared. These are called "letdown" headaches.

It's important to realize that everyone has a headache threshold, or a point that, when exceeded, will result in a headache. Stress tends to lower that headache threshold, making it easier for headaches to occur.

What You Can Do

  • Keep a headache diary. Try to recognize how often stress is linked to your headaches.
  • Try to identify what causes your stress and take steps to eliminate, avoid, or better control your most common stressors.
  • Ask your primary care provider for a referral to one of Dean's behavioral health specialists to learn ways to reduce stress.
  • Learn biofeedback and/or other relaxation methods.
  • Raise your headache threshold by making good choices: maintain a consistent daily routine, eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep.

Helpful Books

  • The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook. Martha Davis, Matthew McKay, and Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman.
  • Stress Management for Dummies. Allen Elkin.

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