Diet and Lifestyle Influence Headache in Adolescents!!!

A headache or cephalgia is pain anywhere in the region of the head or neck. It can be a symptom of a number of different conditions of the head and neck. The brain tissue itself is not sensitive to pain because it lacks pain receptors. Rather, the pain is caused by disturbance of the pain-sensitive structures around the brain. Several areas of the head and neck have these pain-sensitive structures, which are divided in two categories: within the cranium (blood vessels, meninges, and the cranial nerves) and outside the cranium (the periosteum of the skull, muscles, nerves, arteries and veins, subcutaneous tissues, eyes, ears, sinuses and mucous membranes).

Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations:

• Overall healthy diet includes a lot of vegetables and fruits, whole-grain high-fiber foods, fish twice a week
• Healthy body weight
• Recommended levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides
• Normal blood pressure
• Normal blood glucose level
• Be physically active
• Avoid use of and exposure to tobacco

A recently published study investigated which factors influence headaches in teenagers. The study included 1,260 high school students in grades 10 and 11. The students were surveyed about their intake of meals, coffee, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, smoking and physical activity. They were also asked whether they had headaches and their frequency, character, duration and intensity. The results revealed that drinking coffee and alcohol, smoking and lack of physical activity are all associated with migraine and tension headaches in teens. Researchers found that about 10 percent reported having migraines, almost half reported tension headaches and about 20 percent reported having both types of headache. An unexpected finding was that skipping meals and not getting enough fluids were not associated with any type of headache in this study. These results suggest that further research is needed to assess whether educational programs about these associations will influence headache-triggering behavior and therefore, headache, in teenagers.1

1 Milde-Busch A, Blaschek A, Borggrafe I, et al. Associations of Diet and Lifestyle With Headache in High-School Students: Results From a Cross-Sectional Study. Headache. Jun2010.