The most common triggers for migraine and chronic daily headache are stress, weather changes, perimenstruation, missing meals, bright lights, and under sleeping.   Food sensitivity, perfume, cigarette smoke, after stress is over and oversleeping are also triggers.  In general, headache patients do better with regular schedules, eating three or more meals per day, and going to bed and awaking at the same time every day. Some foods can be headache triggers, but foods tend to be overemphasized.
Managing stress with psychotherapy, exercise, yoga, etc., often will reduce the frequency of headaches. With stress, it’s not so much extreme stress, rather the daily hassles that increase headaches. When patients are faced with overwhelming daily stress, particularly when they cannot sleep well at night, headaches can be much worse the next day.
Relaxation techniques such as biofeedback, deep breathing, and imaging can be helpful for daily headache patients, particularly where stress is a factor. Yoga may improve elements of headache with benefits of stress management and muscle relaxation. Psychotherapy can be extremely useful for many headache patients with regard to anxiety, life issues, coping and family of origin issues. While we may recommend psychotherapy, it’s important to note that headaches are a physical condition, not a “psychological” problem…. keeping in mind that stress can exacerbate the condition.

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