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The Link Between Stress and Headaches

Chronic headaches can range from mild to debilitating and have a significant impact on how well you function in your day-to-day life. Identifying and avoiding your triggers is a key part of managing chronic migraines.

Triggers differ from person to person, but certain lifestyle factors commonly trigger or worsen headaches -- and stress is one of them. While there’s no official classification for stress-induced headaches, people who experience chronic migraines often report stress as one of their triggers.

At Beverly Hills Headache Institute, we have the training, expertise, and resources to diagnose and treat chronic migraines. Neurologist Ravinder Singh, MD, and our team of specialists here at Premier Neurology Group offer specialized care for a full range of neurological needs, including headaches, and we can help you improve your symptoms and quality of life. 

If you’ve noticed that your headaches tend to strike when you’ve been under a lot of stress, it isn’t just your imagination. There is a link between stress and chronic headaches. Managing stress can help ease your symptoms and reduce the frequency and intensity of your headaches.

Migraine sufferers are more prone to stress

People who experience chronic headaches report higher levels of emotional stress than those without chronic migraines. Stress has a number of effects on the central nervous system, including prompting the release of certain chemicals that can bring on headaches or make them worse.

Stress is also a trigger for tension headaches. Whether you have them from time to time or fairly regularly, lasting stress can contribute to headaches. Because having a headache can cause more stress, it’s easy to end up in a vicious cycle.

Managing stress to ease headaches

The things you do in your day-to-day life can affect your headache symptoms. Because stress is one of the most commonly reported headache triggers, a plan to better manage your stress is a good place to start.

Our expert team can diagnose your headaches and help you get relief. We treat headaches with a multidisciplinary approach using a unique combination of the right therapies for each person, which may include stress management.

Here we share 3 tips to help you put a lid on stress.

1. Engage in stress-busting activities

With our busy lifestyles it’s easy to forget to make some time for stress-relieving activities. Reading, bird watching, and going for a nature walk are excellent activities that bring stress levels down. If you prefer physical activities, yoga and Tai chi can help you achieve a more relaxed frame of mind. 

Stress-relieving activities have a positive impact by lowering stress-related chemicals in the body. Calming activities, such as medication, can relax and widen blood vessels, slow heart rate, and improve blood flow. This can ease your headache symptoms and help keep chronic headaches at bay. 

2. Practice good sleep hygiene

Poor sleep habits are a major cause of stress on the body and brain. When you sleep, your body not only recharges, it regulates various hormones and other chemicals. When you skimp on sleep, it can throw important chemicals out of whack and raise stress-related substances.

Developing a sleep routine is one of the best ways to regulate your sleep habits. Things that help are: 

3. Combat workplace stress

Workplace stress is a major contributor to your overall stress levels. Getting work-related stress in check can go a long way in reducing your daily stress. This may mean reducing your workload, delegating some of your workload to others, changing your work schedule, or making changes to your work environment.

Chronic headaches don’t have to control your life. Our team at Beverly Hills Headache Institute can help you reclaim your quality of life. If you’re struggling with bothersome headaches, call our office in Beverly Hills, California, to schedule a consultation with Dr. Singh or use our convenient online booking form.

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