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Reducing Holiday Headaches

As the holidays approach, people across the country are looking forward to the twinkling lights, festive music, sweet treats and extra dose of family. But for many, these favorite holiday traditions can also bring on an unwelcome threat of headaches and for some, a debilitating migraine headache attack.

Most people suffer from the occasional headache and an estimated 25 million Americans -- 75 percent of whom are women -- experience much more severe migraine headaches. No matter what the type, however, experts now know that headaches can be triggered by foods, beverages, and other lifestyle factors. Each headache sufferer has his or her own combination of personal headache triggers, which can be increasingly difficult to avoid during the holiday season.

The holidays can be a difficult time for headache sufferers. Not only are many headache triggers more prevalent, but also people may not want to feel excluded at the office parties or family gatherings by avoiding some of the more 'festive' headache triggers. To avoid turning into a no-show this holiday season, try some of the following solutions to some of the most common holiday headaches:



The "Last Minute Shopping" Headache (stress)

Reduce stress by planning ahead as much as possible by shopping early before the stores are crowded and making lists.

The "Are We There Yet?" Headache (travel)

Consider the easiest routes to travel to friends or relatives. Avoid noisy and crowded forms of transportation.

The "Decoration Overload" Migraine

Avoid bright or (twinkling lights) flashing lights from holiday decorations. Instead hang mistletoe or create beautiful centerpieces for your home with winter fruits and festive foliage.

The "Be-Everywhere" headache (lack of sleep)

Prioritize during this busy holiday season. Pick and choose a few fun activities and get plenty of rest.

The "Overactive Perfume Counter Spritzer"

Rather than using Headache (strong odors) colognes or perfumes, fill your home with lightly scented candles for a fragrant and festive aura.

The "Eggroll Hors d'Oeuvres" Migraine (M.S.G.)

Instead of snacking on M.S.G.-laden appetizers, fill your plate with alternative goodies from the buffet table.

Besides avoiding personal triggers, there is more good news for headache sufferers, especially for those who suffer from migraines. New research shows that many people can help stave off migraines by taking something for their pain as soon as they feel one coming on. I advise my patients to carry medication with them and keep it in their car or office.

For more information on headaches, click here.

Created: 2/14/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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