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Drinking More Water May Help Ease Headache

Headache relief may be no further than the kitchen faucet, according to a study published in the journal Family Practice.

Recently Mark Spigt, MD, and his colleagues from the University of Maastricht in The Netherlands conducted a randomized, controlled study to explore water intake and headache and found that drinking more water benefited headache sufferers.

In 2005, Dr. Spigt led a study about water intake and bladder problems; a participating patient who increased his water intake experienced considerable improvement in his migraines, leading Dr. Spigt and his colleagues to explore the water-headache association further.

For the current study, researchers assigned headache sufferers who drank less than 2.5/liters (slightly more than 10 8-ounce glasses) of water a day to one of two groups. Fifty patients became the control group and were given instructions on stress reduction and strategies to improve their sleep, and 52 patients were assigned to an intervention group. Members of this group received the same instructions as well as directions to increase their fluid intake by 1.5 liters each day. Over three months, results were measured via the Migraine-Specific Quality of Life (MSQOL) questionnaire and the number of days participants had at least a moderate headache.

Members of the study who drank extra water scored much higher on the questionnaire than their counterparts, and 47% of those who increased their water intake reported considerable improvement on how they perceived the intervention’s effectiveness, compared to just 25% in the control group.

The authors concluded: “It seems reasonable to recommend headache patients try this non-invasive intervention for a short period of time to see whether they experience improvement.”

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