Ever feel like you get more headaches and neck pains during the winter months? You’re not alone. According to a survey by the National Headache Foundation, 75% of people who suffer from migraines cite the weather as a trigger. Other reasons could include a decrease in temperature, humidity changes, barometric pressure, and even wind speeds.
If you find that your headaches or migraines get worse during the colder months, you may find the following tips helpful in preventing or reducing your pain and help get you back to enjoying the frosty season!
Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D. Since most people get their daily intake of vitamin D from the sun, the lack of sunlight in the winter can cause people to develop a deficiency. To combat the lack of sunlight in the winter, eat foods rich in vitamin D like eggs or fish.
Use a humidifier. Between low humidity outside and the effect of your heating system, chances are your home can feel very dry. Dry conditions increase your chance of getting sick which only makes headaches and migraines worse. To maintain a healthy level of humidity in your home, consider using a humidifier.
Keep a normal sleep schedule. On chilly, dark winter mornings you may be tempted to sleep in. For headache sufferers though, maintaining a steady sleep schedule is very important. Make sure to get a full night’s sleep and aim to sleep for the same amount of hours each night.
Avoid foods with MSG. Although its tempting to reach for a can of soup during the winter, make sure to avoid products that contain MSG. MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a food additive that is a common trigger for migraines.
Stay warm! While it should go without saying, keeping your head, neck, hands, and feet warm during the winter is crucial in avoiding headache pain. Always wear a hat, scarf, and gloves when you’re outside for extended periods of time. Some people may also benefit from the use of heat therapy when trying to reduce migraine and headache pain.
Stay active. Although you may be tempted to curl up on the couch in front of the television when it is cold outside, it is important to find ways to stay active. Regular exercise helps reduce stress, which is known to reduce the occurrence of headaches and migraines. Consider walking around the mall or doing housework to get in more active time, when outdoor activities aren’t possible.