The busy back-to-school season can be riddled with all kinds of emotions for both parents and kids. From new schedules to new school supplies, a headache may not be far behind.

In fact, 44 percent of parents say that they expect to get a headache during the back-to-school season, according to a recent survey by the makers of Excedrin.

Whether it’s back-to-school season, or any other time of the year, Dr. Keri Peterson, internist at a major New York City hospital, advises sufferers not to simply grin and bear the pain. She offers the following tips to help prevent headaches:

• Manage your new routine: A new or changing routine can cause physical and mental stress, one of the most common headache triggers. Try easing into your new back-to-school routine.

Ensure you’re still leaving yourself time for sleep and exercise; keeping these two consistent helps with your routine, as well. Consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

• New eating habits: Developing healthier eating habits may prepare your body to better cope with stress. Certain foods and drinks can often trigger headaches, so avoid triggers such as aged cheese, processed meats, alcohol, peanuts and foods that contain MSG.

• Laugh: A joke may just be the stress-free key, so take time during this back-to-school season to listen to your child’s funniest lunchroom story. Laughing lightens your mood, can cause positive physical and emotional changes and can produce a relaxed feeling.  So take a second between all the PTA meetings and school stress and enjoy a good laugh -- and possibly avoid a headache.

• Stretch: Be sure to join in on your child’s pre-sports practice stretch next week. Stretching helps to reduce the tension in your muscles, and can help you relax. Try stretching before putting your kids on the bus, to get blood flowing to your muscles and help you start your day stress-free.

Despite taking preventive measures, almost everyone gets a headache sometimes. While you can try treating headaches with relaxation or naps, taking a “time out” is not always possible. An effective over-the-counter medicine like Excedrin Extra Strength, when used as directed on the package label, can help you manage pain quickly.

And now, the makers of Excedrin are offering parents the chance to win money to help support their schools.   Until September 15, with every purchase of Excedrin   products, parents can enter for a chance to win $10,000 for their child’s school.  To enter the “Help Your School Excel with Excedrin” sweepstakes and have the chance to be one of five lucky winners, parents can visit www.Facebook.com/Excedrin.

Don’t let the back-to-school season get the better of you. With a few preventive measures, you can reduce your risk for headaches. 

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