For Immediate Release
Contact: Jerry Carey
At UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine
Expert Offers Tips for Avoiding Holiday Headaches
Even if you don't normally suffer from headaches, the holiday
season can make you feel as if you've had a non-stop headache
Dr. R. Michael Gallagher, director of the University Headache
Center and dean of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of
New Jersey (UMDNJ)-School of Osteopathic Medicine, said, "All
the headache triggers converge at the end of the year -- impossible
schedules and expectations, excesses of food and drink and the
stress and tension of family gatherings and personal budget crises."
To avoid holiday headaches and still enjoy the season with gusto,
Dr. Gallagher offers these suggestions:
Shop smart. Avoid last minute rushing around
by shopping early. Make lists and budgets and stick to them. Shop
during off hours or order merchandise through catalogs or the
Internet to avoid long lines in stores.
Learn to relax. Long checkout lines can cause
tension that results in a headache. If you find your jaw clenched
or your shoulders tight while waiting in line, relax. Stretch,
gently roll your head from side to side and take deep, slow breaths.
Plan ahead for travel. Expect long waits at
airports and increased traffic on the roads. Remember to pack
activities that help keep young children occupied.
Get the proper rest. Lack of sleep can be a
reason for a headache.
Watch what you eat. Ripe cheeses, processed
meats and chocolate may cause headaches in some people. Irregular
eating patterns and an empty stomach can also result in a headache.
Go easy on alcohol. Alcohol causes blood vessels
in the head to dilate and that can result in a headache. Dehydration,
a side effect of alcohol consumption, also can bring on a headache.
If you do drink, avoid red wines. They contain a naturally occurring
amino acid known to trigger headaches. Alternate a glass of alcohol
with a glass of water or caffeine-free soda.
Prioritize your activities. Balance the bustle
with some quiet activities. Save a few visits with friends or
relatives for after the New Year.
Get away from smoke and perfume-filled rooms.
Both can trigger headaches. Take a break and head outside to enjoy
the crisp winter air.
Try honey for a hangover. If you still end
up with a headache, avoid caffeine. It will make a headache, particularly
a migraine, worse. For a hangover, try a little honey, drink plenty
of fluids and take an analgesic such as aspirin.
To arrange an interview with Dr. Gallagher, contact Jerry Carey
at the UMDNJ News Service at (856) 566-6171 or at (973) 972-3000.