Headaches are inconvenient at best and crippling at worst, and sometimes sufferers of bad headaches feel like over-the-counter medications are their only option. Though there are many natural solutions that can relieve different types of headache pain, the best way to prevent pain is to know what causes headaches in the first place and how to avoid them.
Sometimes, the cause of your headache is obvious, like if you’re suffering from illness or a lack of sleep. Other causes are less well-known, but it’s rare for a headache to set in without an underlying reason.
Read on to learn more about surprising triggers for headaches and how you can lower your risk of getting them.
Wait, What Could Be Causing My Headache?
Your weight: More prevalent in children but affecting adults as well, overweight or obese individuals are more likely to suffer from headaches that happen everyday or frequently. Migraines and chronic headaches are more likely to affect women, who are on average more obese and overweight than men.
The exact reason for the connection between excess body weight and headaches hasn’t been determined, though many studies have proven that the association is there. If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, consider your BMI when searching for a long term solution.
If you want to try losing weight to reduce your risk of headache, start by adopting a healthier diet, taking daily walks, or even joining a program like the hCG Weight Loss Program.
Your sleeping habits: It’s well-known that lack of sleep can cause severe headaches and trigger migraines. But oversleeping can cause trouble, too. Studies show that too much sleep can lead to a migraine or a headache just like a schedule lacking in rest.
If you have a weekend with no plans, it may be tempting to close the blinds and stay in bed for an extra-long snooze. But if you’re prone to headaches, this may not be the best idea. Researchers believe oversleeping can cause headaches due to the effect extra sleep has on neurotransmitters in the brain, like serotonin.
In other words, if you often sleep long hours and wake up with a headache, try setting your alarm a few hours earlier. Finding a happy median between how much sleep you want and how much you need might lead to a pain-free morning.
The weather: For people who suffer from migraines or chronic headaches, weather changes often trigger pain. Weather-related conditions that frequently cause headaches include:
- bright sunlight
- extreme heat or cold
- dry air
- high winds
- barometric pressure changes
Again, the connection between weather and head pain can be attributed to an imbalance in brain chemistry. So what can you do to stop it?
Experts recommend keeping a headache diary. Make a note every time you feel a headache setting in, and write down what the weather has been like that day. You might see a pattern form.
If cold triggers your headache, be sure to bundle up or stay indoors on chilly days. If heat is the culprit, an air-conditioned room may be the best place for you in the summer. Be proactive about running errands and planning your schedule around anticipated weather, particularly if the conditions are going to be extreme.
Your eating habits: Ever skipped a meal and wound up with a splitting headache? Tried something new and ended up needing a nap in a dark room? Researchers say this isn’t all that uncommon. Certain kinds of foods and dietary habits (such as skipping meals) can cause headaches and migraines, especially in those who are susceptible.
When a certain kind of food is the trigger, a headache may only occur if you eat enough of it. Additionally, you may not see symptoms for a day or two after consuming the item, so it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause. Some common foods to watch out for are: chocolate, caffeine, red wine and alcohol, foods that contain tyramine, and foods with many additives.
If you suspect your headaches are triggered by one kind of food, it’s best to consult a nutritionist to work out a plan to identify and avoid the problem. If your problem occurs when you skip meals, try eating more frequently and setting alarms to be sure you don’t accidentally miss a necessary meal time.
If you’re looking for more information about unusual causes of headaches, or want help getting started on a natural treatment plan for chronic headaches or migraines, our team is happy to help. Send us your questions and we’ll get back to you with answers as soon as we can.