From the Magazine

4 Ways to Stop Headaches Before They Even Start

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Head hurting — again? Fortunately, pinpointing when you suffer brain pain can help you find the remedy that offers relief. Read on for four ways to nix headaches depending on when you most often get them. 

Morning headache: Snack on nuts

If you wake up with a pounding head, try nibbling on 1/2 cup of your favorite nuts during the day, and you could cut tomorrow’s headache risk by 60 percent, say Stanford University researchers. Nuts are packed with minerals we lose when we sweat, explains Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, author of The Cultured Cook ($10.97, Amazon). “Plus, their healthy fats reduce pain-triggering inflammation in scalp muscles and nerves.”

After 3 PM headache: Stretch it out

Long mornings hunched over a computer or a flower bed can make neck muscles spasm and headaches flare. But Canadian researchers say taking two minutes each hour to turn your head from side to side and drop each ear toward its shoulder can cut late-day headaches by 55 percent. Explains physiotherapist Cynthia Weppler, PT, stretching relaxes muscles so they’re less likely to pinch pain nerves.

Weekend headache: Take daily breaks

When stress hormones are high all week, then plunge Friday night, that sudden change disrupts function of your brain’s pain nerves, explain Johns Hopkins University researchers. Happily, just unwinding for 30 minutes daily can cut stress hormones by 25 percent and weekend headache risk by 55 percent.

Weather-related headache: Try CoQ10

Barometric pressure changes irritate brain nerves, triggering pounding headaches for 53 percent of us. Thankfully, University of Connecticut researchers say a daily 200-mg. dose of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), an antioxidant that helps nerves adapt to change, cuts the frequency and severity of weather-triggered headaches in half. Try: Life Extension Super Ubiquinol CoQ10 (LEF.com/ww). Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing. 

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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