HeadWise HeadWise: Volume 2, Issue 2 - Page 37

storm fronts and even subtle weather changes. There is no way to truly avoid all migraine triggers, Dr. Cady says. The only way to truly avoid all of these influences is to spend the year’s most pleasant months shut inside a dark room, he says. This is both unpleasant and unrealistic. Instead, Dr. Cady encourages patients to “think globally” about all the various risk factors for migraine to which their nervous systems are exposed. “Very often it’s a combination of risk factors that are occurring in close proximity that set the nervous system up for an attack of migraine,” Dr. Cady says. “For example, if you aren’t sleeping well or you’ve had a lot of stress at work, it’s probably not a wise idea to go to a wine and cheese party. You have to balance these things out and make yourself a lot less vulnerable.” He notes that risk factors can be avoided in many instances, balanced with protective factors such as regular sleep and meals or modified by using sunglasses. The point is to address the lifestyle factors that can be controlled, to help the body better withstand the external factors that cannot be controlled. Hydrated and Happy In the heat of the summer months, it can be easy to ignore your water intake. But Dr. Cady warns that allowing yourself to become dehydrated “is one of the worst things people with headaches of any sort, particularly migraines, can do.” To keep your body happy, remember to drink additional fluids before, during and after physical activity. Federal guidelines suggest an extra 8 to 16 ounces before exercise; 4 to 8 ounces every 20 minutes during exercise; and an additional 16 ounces of fluid for each pound lost during the workout. In general, drinking small amounts frequently throughout the day is easier than guzzling giant glasses of liquid in a single sitting. When it comes to hydration, here’s how some of the most common beverages stack up: PLAN AHEAD 7 Warm weather usually means outings and travel plans that can tamper with those critical meal, sleep and medication routines. But before you embark on your day of adventure, plot out your schedule and make sure you have everything you need to make it through the day pain free. “I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard that begin with, ‘I went out on the boat and left my meds at home or in the car,’” Dr. Cady says. 6 Water: It is well known that H20 is undoubtedly, absolutely and unequivocally the best way to stay hydrated. It’s free, it’s plentiful, it’s easy to tote around and it will keep your body replenished. Add a little flavor by garnishing with lemon, lime or cucumber slices. Sports drinks: Following water, electrolyte-based drinks can be a great option for hydrating, especially for people planning vigorous exercise, Dr. Cady says. Caffeine: Though Dr. Cady admits that caffeine withdrawal is the usual cause of caffeine-related headaches, he says his primary objection to coffee and caffeinated sodas is their ability to impair sleep. People who experience headache disorders need a good night’s sleep to help the nervous system recover from the day’s activities. RELAX— IT’S SUMMER Soda: Soft drinks tend to be full of sugar, sweeteners and calories, which makes them a poor choice for hydration. Worrying about headaches can produce anxiety and new headaches. So relax, kick up your feet and enjoy time with loved ones. The summer could also be a great time to try new activities to reduce your headaches, such as biofeedback, yoga or a regular, fun exercise such as tennis or swimming. “I think fun is a good thing for your nervous system,” Dr. Cady says, “and hopefully that’s what we have in the summer.” HW Milk: Nonfat milk could have some of the same replenishing properties as a sports drink, according to a study published in the October 2008 issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Of course, there’s only so much you want to drink on a hot day. Juice: While the sugar and calorie content makes juice a less-than-ideal drink for hydration, juice could be a good choice when adding a small amount to water. www.headaches.org | National Headache Foundation 35