Breaking the Headache Cycle

By Bruce Hensel
|  Tuesday, May 3, 2011  |  Updated 9:58 AM PDT
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Today's never-ending, get-it-done-yesterday lifestyle could be creating a headache cycle that's tough to break.

Dr. Bruce Hensel

Today's never-ending, get-it-done-yesterday lifestyle could be creating a headache cycle that's tough to break.

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More and more people are getting more headaches than ever before. One reason for that might be that we are all under more stress than ever before -- large families, multiple jobs and economic struggles all play a role.
 
Research shows that stress may cause real physical changes in our bodies that start that a headache cycle. Increased adrenaline can affect blood vessels and cause pain. Rushing from one thing to another without eating well and without relaxing adds fuel to the fire, and may make the headache worse.
 
"Stress does cause a lot of chemicals to reproduce in order to deal with the stress, and some of those chemicals have effects on blood vessels," said Dr. Alan Rothfeld of the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. "These headaches seem to be more common in women."

Other studies show that avoiding alcohol and caffeine and getting regular exercise can reduce pain-producing hormones, increase the body's own endorphins -- the feel good hormones -- and help break the headache cycle once and for all.

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