22 July 2010

Make exams less painful

Students are so overwhelmed by the pressure of assignments and exams that they completely forget about the effect this is having on their health.

Headaches have become an ordinary occurrence for students around exam times and many of them feel helpless when dealing with this problem. Students are so overwhelmed by the pressure of assignments and exams that they completely forget about the effect this is having on their health.

  • Dietary headache is a common affliction for students. These are usually triggered by foods that assist with energy such as caffeine and chocolate. Take note of which foods trigger headaches for you by keeping a diary and avoid these foods. A Dietary Trigger Diary is available at free of charge to assist you. Remember that skipping meals is a surefire trigger for headaches. Eat in moderation and enjoy your meals.
  • Be aware of your posture when studying as this can result in a tension headache. Use a good chair that supports your back and that gives the ideal posture. Gt a free copy of the Ideal Computer Posture.
  • Learn the right stretching exercises to stretch the muscles of your head, face, neck and jaw. Stretching should be gentle and soothing, not agonisingly painful. Stretch your neck and jaw muscles carefully and you will get results.
  • Bware of medication-overuse headaches. Medication is only appropriate for someone who suffers a few times a month. According to the International Headache Society, if you are taking headache medication more than twice a week you are at risk of developing a medication-overuse headache. This means that the drugs you are taking will cause the headache or migraine to become more severe and more frequent over time. This leads to a downward spiral into constant medication use and constant pain. The more medication you take, the more pain you are in, the more medication you need, and the cycle continues.
  • It is important that you keep your stress levels to a minimum. Plan ahead to guarantee that you have enough time to study and that you get sufficient rest each night. One should also take regular breaks to ensure that you don’t get overworked.

For further details on the please contact Mary-Lee Cantor at 011 484 0933. (Migraine Research Institute, July 2010)


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Dr Elliot Shevel is a South African migraine surgery pioneer and the founder and medical director of The Headache Clinic in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, South Africa. The Headache Clinic is a multidisciplinary practice dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of Primary Headaches and Migraines. Dr Shevel is also the main author of all scientific publications generated by his team. He recently won a high level science debate in which he was able to prove that the current migraine diagnosis and classification is not based on data. Tertiary Education - Dr Shevel holds both Dental and Medical degrees, and practises as a specialist Maxillo-facial and Oral Surgeon. Follow the Headache Clinic on Twitter@HeadacheClinic.

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