Practically everyone has experienced that throbbing pain that signifies an impending downward spiral about to completely derail what should have been–would have been–a lovely day…the dreaded headache.
From dehydration headaches to the worst of the worst migraines, headaches have been draining our productivity levels, soiling good moods, and simply aching our insides for eons. But what exactly causes a headache, and what are some techniques to avoid these seemingly inevitable distractions?
What causes a headache?
Research shows that there are plenty of aspects of life that can trigger headaches, ranging from what we put into our bodies to environmental stressors. Knowing the causes of such are key to avoiding them, making us less likely to suffer their discomfort.
Here are some of the major reasons we find ourselves clutching our heads and begging for that bottle of over-the-counter pain reliever:
- Eating less than you normally do (or should) can lead to a dizzy feeling and headache, especially if you’ve skipped breakfast. Missing meals can lead to lower blood sugar, causing shakiness and eventual migraine.
- We all know that overindulging in alcohol can cause a massive headache the next day, and research shows that red wine or beer are particularly notorious for causing these issues. As too much sugar too quickly contributes to the morning-after cloudiness, coupling hard alcohol with extremely sugary drinks can also lead to a less-than-pleasant morning after.
- The University of Maryland Medical Center states that certain foods high in nitrates and MSG can lead to migraines, such as salty meats or dairy products. Diet has much to do with the inner workings of our minds and can definitely play a part in frequent headaches.
- Stress is a major contributor to a pounding head and typically causes migraines shortly after the stress subsides. Going through periods of high stress can make migraines chronic or infrequent headaches much stronger and more painful.
How to never have a headache again?
While avoiding the primary causes of headaches is a huge part of eluding them, there are some cautionary measures that can be taken to make the likelihood of a migraine much less.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration not only causes headaches, but makes the brain foggy and dull, unable to process new information. Drinking enough water every day keeps the migraines at bay while improving overall health as well.
- Destress your life. Practicing calming exercises like mindfulness and yoga can help to reduce and possibly eliminate stress migraines. Focusing on the positive aspects of life and remembering to let stress go will greatly decrease tension headaches and migraines over time.
- Cut back on caffeine. Too much coffee can make you both jittery and anxious and can eventually lead to a full-blown migraine. Staying away from high-caffeine sodas and strong coffees will help lessen the painful crash after an energy high.
- Get at least eight hours of sleep a night. Research shows that not getting enough sleep (or getting too much, for that matter) can cause migraines and zap our energy reserves. Make sure you’re staying on track with your sleep schedule to make migraines a thing of the past.
While headaches may seem like an unfortunate–yet unavoidable–aspect of life, there are ways to cut back on unhealthy habits and, perhaps, completely eliminate troublesome migraines from your life.