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Understanding Common Headache Triggers

Understanding Common Headache Triggers

Headaches can come on without any warning, sometimes making it hard to function.

Everyone experience headaches at different times and for different reasons. If you get frequent headaches, there may be certain things triggering your pain and ways to keep a headache at bay.

Tips for preventing headaches:

  • Understand what may cause your headaches. Keep a log of when you get headaches to figure out what may be causing them. Make sure to include details like what you’ve recently eaten or had to drink; what activities you were doing; and when your headache started and how long it lasted. If you see patterns of when you get headaches, you can make changes to see if you experience headaches less frequently.
  • Get adequate sleep. Adults should get seven to nine hours a day, while the amount of sleep recommended for children and teens varies by age. When setting your sleep routine, try to go to bed and wake up about the same time each day.
  • Make sure to eat regular meals and snacks. Avoid skipping meals and try to eat about the same time each day (don’t forget to choose healthy foods and drinks). According to the American Migraine Foundation, these foods and drinks may trigger migraines in some people:
    • Alcohol (especially red wine)
    • Caffeine (see more information below)
    • Processed meats (especially meats with sulfites like ham, salami, bacon, sausage)
    • Soups and foods containing MSG
    • Some yogurt and cheeses
  • Limit or eliminate caffeine. Although some treatments for headaches may include caffeine, it’s typically best to avoid — or limit — your caffeine intake. Caffeine can lead to headaches.
  • Get your exercise. Regular physical activity can help improve your physical and mental health, and help you de-stress. Aim for 30 minutes or more per day of physical activity.
  • Limit your stress. Stress is a big headache trigger. Find healthy ways to relieve your stress. This may include:
    • Exercising (ideas include running, walking, bike riding, Yoga, tai chi and other activities)
    • Meditation and breathing exercises
    • Staying organized by setting goals for what needs to be accomplished and when it needs to be accomplished
    • Giving yourself plenty of time to get to meetings or appointments
    • Asking for help if you have too much on your plate
  • Speak to your primary care provider if you continue to have headaches that are hard to treat or impact your ability to function in daily activities.

If you need medical advice for minor illnesses or injuries, Norman Regional Virtual Care may be able to help. We will connect you with a provider anytime of the day or night from the comfort of your home or office. It’s quick, convenient and only costs $64 for each visit. Learn more about Norman Regional’s other telemedicine offerings.