Whether the pain in your head was due to stress, sinus pressure, tight muscles, or migraines, chances are you have had at least one headache in your lifetime. And that's enough to make you want to avoid the triggers at all costs.
Some people experience chronic headaches requiring medication while others only get them from time to time and can get away with minimal treatment. Whatever type you suffer from, here are five common triggers you should be aware of.
1) Changes in weather
Many people who get headaches and migraines can predict the weather before a trained weatherperson can. A drastic change from a high to a low front (and vice versa) or a sunny day to a cloudy/rainy day (again, or vice versa) can be a huge pain.
Once the weather is more stable, such as consistent sunny days or consistent rainy days, the headaches typically abate. Keep an eye on the 7-day forecast and look for a pattern in your headaches that tees up with weather patterns. This allows you to be proactive.
2) Blood sugar crashes
Skipping breakfast, having a late lunch, forgetting your afternoon snack, and eating high sugar/simple carbohydrate meals can all lead to blood sugar imbalance. Such an imbalance can manifest as hunger, irritability, shakiness, fatigue and of course, headaches. Pack snacks or protein bars to have with you in case of emergency.
Not drinking enough water can play a huge role in the development of a headache or migraine. Remember to drink water throughout the day especially if you are a big coffee, soda and caffeine drinker. These liquids can be dehydrating and can also trigger head pain in some people. Of course withdrawal headaches are common if you quit completely.
Also be aware that some people are sensitive to artificial sweeteners therefore diet sodas and other such drinks may worsen headaches.
4) Poor sleep
Proper sleep helps everything in the human body. Consistently sleeping less than seven hours per night can lead to worsened or more frequent headaches because the body is tired and not able to get proper relaxation and downtime to repair.
5) Examine your diet
It is well known that common triggers include aged cheeses, processed meats, wine (sorry, ladies) and chocolate (even more sorry). MSG, asparatame, dairy, gluten, soy and nuts can also induce a headache.
In order to know for certain which trigger affects you, consider cutting out the particular food completely for four weeks and keep a headache journal during that time. Upon re-introduction of the food pay attention to your head.
Many headache and migraine suffers have already figured out their common triggers and work to avoid them. This article may serve as just a reminder in those cases, to stay hydrated, eat regularly and make time for proper sleep.
For those looking to avoid medications if possible, try working on the common triggers listed above and see if they help you live head-pain free.
1. A.D.A.M Medical Encyclopedia. Migraine. Web. 9 September, 2013.
2. Miles, O. Migraine Causes and Triggers. Web. 9 September, 2013.
Reviewed September 10, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
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