It’s not unusual to experience a headache from time to time, but regular or persistent headaches should always be investigated. By identifying any triggers or underlying causes, you can take steps to enhance your health and reduce your discomfort. To help you identify what’s triggering your pain, take a look at these eight things that could be causing your headaches:
Being active is great for your health, so why can it cause head pain? Known as exertional headaches, these can develop during or following exercise and are associated with low blood sugar, dehydration, and muscle tension. In addition to this, failing to warm up or cool down can also increase the risk of experiencing exertional headaches. Try eating an energizing snack before working out, staying hydrated throughout the day, and varying your fitness routine to minimize discomfort.
Unfortunately, being sensitive to scents can a primary cause of headaches and migraines. Powerful aftershaves or perfumes are common culprits but scented candles, diffusers and even flowers can cause headaches to develop. For some people, taking an antihistamine can help to combat allergies and sensitivities but steering clear of triggering scents is usually the most effective way to combat these types of headaches.
3. Hearing Aids
If you’ve recently started wearing hearing aids or your prescription has been changed, you may notice more headaches than usual. A quick look at a guide to using hearing aids may reassure you that this is a common issue that often resolves as your body adjusts to the new settings. However, if you’re experiencing severe discomfort or if your symptoms don’t diminish, your audiologist will be able to make changes to your hearing devices to ensure they’re comfortable to wear.
If you spend a lot of time sitting down, it’s important to practice good posture. When you have a desk job, for example, spending hours sitting down staring at a screen can cause you to slouch. It doesn’t take long for poor posture to take a toll, so expect to experience headaches, neck pain, and back discomfort. However, regular stretching, supportive furniture, and improving your posture can have a major impact.
Neck pain is definitely the main one to look out for here; we have a tendency to sit with our heads too far forward, putting so much pressure on the joints and ligaments in our neck. The problem with neck pain is that it is so closely related to headaches – pain in the top of your neck can cause tension headaches that occur very frequently. Your best bet is to see some orthopedics for treatment to reduce the joint pain in your neck, improving your posture, and eliminating your tension headaches.
5. Cold Cuts
If you regularly eat cold cuts or other processed meat, these could be triggering headaches or migraines. They contain tyramine and nitrates, which are common causes of head discomfort. You’ll also find them in cheese and red wine, which is why many people who are prone to migraines cut these foods out of their diets.
Stress can be a major risk factor for headaches. Unfortunately, the additional stress of feeling incapacitated by a bad headache can add to your worries and lead to a never-ending cycle. However, relaxation and stress reduction techniques can be an effective way to relieve your discomfort. Furthermore, making self-care part of your day-to-day routine can help to prevent these headaches from developing.
7. Headache Medication
Ironically, pain-relieving medication can sometimes cause headaches, particularly if it’s overused. Known as rebound headaches, they can occur when you take headache medication for more than one or two days a week. Ceasing the medication can help to alleviate the pain, but it can take two to 10 days for it to completely subside. During this time, alternative treatments may be able to reduce the discomfort.
You might think that caffeine is essential to wake you up in the morning or to combat a mid-afternoon energy slump, but it could be the reason you’re experiencing more headaches than usual. Too much caffeine often has this effect, so reducing your intake can be an effective way to identify the underlying cause of your symptoms. However, most people prefer to reduce their caffeine intake gradually as caffeine withdrawal can be another headache trigger!
Uncovering the Cause of Your Headaches
If you’re experiencing severe pain, new types of headaches, or an increase in the frequency of your headaches, it’s important to consult a physician. Although there are many lifestyle factors that can cause or exacerbate headaches, you’ll want to rule out any potential underlying medical causes before you begin making changes. Once you’ve received advice from your physician, you can begin adjusting your day-to-day routine to minimize your pain.
Although it can take time to identify the cause of recurrent headaches, it’s well worth the effort. Once you know what your triggers are, you can take steps to avoid or reduce them and banish headaches and migraines for good.