Expert: Monitor stress, dehydration to avoid headaches
Host Amber Smith: Here's some expert advice from Dr. Ioana Medrea from Upstate Medical University. How can we prevent random headaches, and what causes them?
Ioana Medrea, MD: The more common things are dehydration, so make sure you get enough water if you feel like you're having a headache, especially if you think you're dehydrated. Another common trigger is missing meals. So, getting some nutritious sort of sources of sugar, because that's really what causes the headache, the withdrawal from sugar.
And then the other thing is stress. So, trying to manage stress well. What does that mean in terms of managing stress well? So, there's a few evidence-based methods that I recommend to my patients with frequent headaches. Exercise is actually a great stress management strategy, so aerobic exercise, three to five times a week is one thing. The other thing that I often discuss with my patients: mindfulness based stress reduction techniques. There are many of them out there, and a lot of them have evidence, very good evidence, behind them. One of them is meditation. Another one would be tai chi. The other things would be mindfulness-based apps. So we have a lot of them now, and some of them even have evidence. So "Calm" is one. "Headspace" is another.
And then, if you're not into devices, there's yoga classes or there's tai chi classes, anything that sort of requires you to turn off your brain and follow a regimented sort of movement is a mindfulness practice. Even religion and praying, and sort of having some spiritual activity like that is a mindfulness-based practice. So, any of those I would qualify as being able to reduce your stress. So, those are the most common triggers for the common headaches that we all have.
Host Amber Smith: You've been listening to neurologist Ioana Medrea from Upstate Medical University.