You may look forward to the fun and activities of summer each year. Pool parties, vacations and barbecues are just a few of the things that we look forward to each year But, what if you’re experiencing headaches regularly?
If you’re living with head pain, none of the things we mentioned will be any fun. Find out what summer means for your headaches or migraines.
What Are Migraines?
A migraine is a type of headache that’s characterized by severe throbbing pain on one side of the head. It usually starts gradually and worsens over time. A migraine can last from a few hours up to several days.
How Many People Are Affected by Migraine?
Approximately 30 million Americans have migraines, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Migraines affect both men and women. They often occur during adolescence and early adulthood. In fact, some studies show that girls are affected more than boys.
The Symptoms of Migraine
Migraine symptoms include:
- Headache (usually unilateral)
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Difficulty concentrating
- Pain behind the eyes
- Neck stiffness
- Sensitivity to smells
- Difficulty walking
- Feeling depressed
- Loss of appetite
Headaches and Summer
If you’ve been having migraines more frequently than usual, there could be a connection between your headache symptoms and the season. Here are some theories why people have more headaches or migraines in the summer:
1. It’s hotter. As the days get longer, the sun’s rays can reach us for longer periods of time. This can lead to more heat-related illnesses such as dehydration and overheating — which can contribute to headaches.
2. Busy schedules. In summer, schedules are often busier, which means later nights and less sleep. That can mean more headaches, too.
3. Changes in barometric pressure. Barometric pressure changes throughout the seasons. In the summer, barometric levels can dip, causing serotonin levels in the brain to decrease. Low serotonin levels are linked to migraines.
When changes in the atmosphere happen, they can impact the blood vessels around the brain by causing them to swell and dilate. The dilation of these vessels is called vasodilation. Vasodilation causes blood flow to increase, which can cause headaches.
5. Humidity. When humidity increases, so does the risk of sinus infections. These infections can cause headaches because they block nasal passages and irritate the lining of the nose.
6. Diet. During the warmer months, many people consume more junk food and alcohol. Both of these contain high amounts of sugar, which can trigger headaches.
How to Avoid Summer Migraines
Summertime is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities like swimming, boating and hiking. If you want to avoid headaches while enjoying the outdoors this summer, here are some tips on how to do it:
• Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can make headaches worse. So drink lots of water during the day and keep yourself well hydrated at night.
• Eat a healthy diet. Make sure you’re eating enough fruits and vegetables. They’re packed full of nutrients that help keep your body running smoothly.
• Don’t skip meals. Try not to go too long without eating something. Eating small meals throughout the day helps maintain stable blood sugar levels.
• Stay cool. Wear light clothing when going outside. Sunglasses and sunscreen are also important.
• Get plenty of rest. Sleep is essential for keeping your energy level up. Aim for eight hours of sleep every night.
If you’re struggling with chronic headaches, you might be wondering whether you should see a doctor about your condition.
Here are some tips to help you cope with your headaches all year long:
Keep a headache diary. Write down everything that happens before, during and after each migraine. This way, you’ll know if certain triggers are making your headaches worse.
Take breaks from work. If you’re working in an office, ask to take frequent breaks. Go home early or even just walk away from your desk for a few minutes.
Treat stress. Stress can worsen headaches. But you don’t have to let it control you. Find ways to manage your stress. For example, try meditation, yoga or deep breathing exercises.
Use relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques can help reduce stress and tension. You could use guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation or biofeedback.
Exercise regularly. Regular exercise has been shown to improve mood and relieve stress. It’s also good for your overall health.
Talk to your doctor. Your doctor may recommend other treatments besides medication.
We understand head pain and can help all year long. Contact us today!