PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
The following tips can help you prevent rebound headaches:
- Take your headache medication exactly as prescribed.
- If you have to take headache medication more than twice a week, contact your doctor.
- Avoid the use of medications that contain butalbital or opioids.
- Limit your use of simple analgesics to less than 15 days a month.
- Limit the use of triptans or combination analgesics to no more than nine days a month.
Taking good care of yourself can help prevent most types of headaches.
- Avoid headache triggers. If you're not sure what triggers your headaches, keep a headache diary. Include details about every headache. When did it start? What were you doing at the time? What did you eat that day? How did you sleep the night before? What's your stress level? How long did it last? What, if anything, provided relief? Eventually, you may begin to see a pattern — and take steps to prevent future headaches.
- Get enough sleep. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day — even on weekends. If you're not tired at bedtime, don't fight it. Read or watch television until you become drowsy and fall asleep naturally.
- Don't skip meals. Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Eat lunch and dinner at about the same time every day.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity causes your body to release chemicals that block pain signals to your brain. With your doctor's OK, choose activities you enjoy — such as walking, swimming or cycling. To avoid injury, start slowly.
- Reduce stress. Get organized. Simplify your schedule. Plan ahead. When the going gets tough, try to stay positive.
- Relax. Try yoga, meditation or relaxation exercises. Set aside time to slow down. Listen to music, read a book or take a hot bath.
- Quit smoking. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting. Smoking can trigger headaches or make them worse.
- Headache: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/headache/detail_headache.htm. Accessed Aug. 21, 2011.
- Evers S, et al. Clinical features, pathophysiology and treatment of medication overuse headaches. The Lancet Neurology. 2010;9:391.
- Cupini LM, et al. Medication overuse headache: Neurobiological, behavioural and therapeutic aspects. Pain. 2010;150:222.
- Bigal ME, et al. Overuse of acute migraine medications and migraine chronification. Current Pain and Headache Reports. 2009;13:301.
- Felice MD, et al. Update on medication-overuse headache. Current Pain and Headache Reports. 2011;15:79.
- Tepper SJ, et al. Breaking the cycle of medication overuse headache. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2010;77:236.
- Rapoport AM. Medication overuse headache: Awareness, detection and treatment. CNS Drugs. 2008;22:995.
- Sun-Edelstein C, et al. Alternative headache treatments: Nutraceuticals, behavioral and physical treatments. Headache Currents. 2011:469.
- Loder E, et al. Evaluation for secondary causes of headache: The role of blood and urine testing. Headache Currents. 2011:338.