Surprising Headache and Migraine Triggers
Check out these surprising headache triggers:
- Your boss
- The weather
- Poor posture
For many people causes of headaches or triggers are related to
To resolve a headache, the correct cause must be addressed. See your health-care professional for evaluation and diagnosis.
These home remedies may help soothe and relieve some headaches.
Check out these surprising headache triggers:
One research study has shown that yoga can be effective for headaches. The yoga practice included breathing techniques (pranayama) and yoga postures (asana).3 Simple stretching can also be helpful for headaches. Try doing some gentle neck rolls, stretching the jaw, and stretching each ear toward the shoulder.
Lying down in a dark room for 15 minutes can often stop a headache or migraine.
Meditation, a more purposeful relaxation practice, has been shown to reduce several types of headache in several research studies. Spiritual meditation, as compared to mindfulness or other types of mediation, was most effective at reducing migraines.1
Self-massage around the temples, shoulders and back of the head can help tension headaches. Massage, either self-massage or working with a massage therapist, can resolve chronic neck and shoulder tension that can cause headaches.
Acupuncture can be effective for certain headaches, like chronic headaches and migraines.2 The acupuncturist will assess the type of headache with a traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis, and treat the headache with needles in certain places along the energy meridians.
Biofeedback, especially neurofeedback, is a technique that can be used to re-train the mind. It is helpful for migraines, cluster headaches, and tension headaches
Headaches sometimes can be cured naturally. Herbal medicines can help people who get headaches often or suffer from migraines.
Lavender essential oil can be applied to the temples or misted into the air to promote relaxation and relieve some cases of headache. Lavender or rosemary essential oils also can relax the mind and blood vessels in the head. Inhaling the scents of essential oils (try eucalyptus) can be especially helpful for sinus headaches, since this opens up the sinus passages.
Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) has been researched to prevent and reduce migraines in adults and children. Butterbur is an herb that can be taken as a capsule or tincture. It is taken preventively to reduce recurrent headaches rather than taking it when the headache begins.
Magnesium relaxes blood vessels and can reduce headaches. It can be given intravenously to abort a migraine or bad tension headache in minutes. Taking a magnesium citrate oral supplement can prevent headaches. It is best taken before bed.
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is effective in preventing some headaches. Research also has found that some people, especially those with MTHFR genetic variations, get headache relief with vitamin B12, B6 and folate acid.6
The nutrient CoQ10 has also been found beneficial for headaches. It helps with several types of recurrent headaches. These natural treatments help get rid of headaches without painkillers.
Applying a hot compress to the back of the neck or forehead can relax tension and ease vasoconstriction. For some people, a cold compress may feel better. A combination of heating creams (Bengay or similar) and self-massage into the sore muscles of the neck or upper back can help relax the muscles.
A classic naturopathic remedy for a headache is to place a hot compress on your head and put your feet in a tub of cold water. This hydrotherapy approach is shocking but works! A milder version of this hydrotherapy is to alternate a hot compress on the head for 5 minutes with an icy cold one for 2 minutes. Always end with cold.
The first thing to try to get rid of a headache without drugs is to drink water or an electrolyte beverage. This helps because, as dehydration is a common cause of a headache. This is especially useful to get rid of a headache that results from drinking alcoholic beverages (a hangover headache). Ideally, choose an electrolyte beverage without artificial colors and sweeteners as these can add to a headache. Packets of powdered drink mixes, such as those mixed with vitamin C, are good options. If you have diabetes it is important to look carefully at the sugar content of the drink.
Mineral water and coconut water are natural cures for dehydration and relieve headaches related to dehydration. They are natural sources of electrolytes, without the added sugar or artificial sweeteners that are found in many commercial electrolyte beverages.
Headaches in some people can be triggered by certain foods that cause histamine release and vasospasm. This is often the cause of cluster headaches. Foods that trigger histamine release can include:
Another category of foods that can trigger headaches are tyramine-rich foods. Some people have a deficiency of monoamine oxidase (MAO), an enzyme that breaks down tyramine and other amines. In this situation, too many tyramine-rich foods overwhelm the enzyme and cause headaches. Tyramine-rich foods include:
Salt also can cause headaches because it leads to fluid retention and high blood pressure. Salt is added to most packaged and processed foods so it is best to avoid those. Check labels and keep sodium less than 1500mg per day. Hidden sources of salt in the diet include
Many practitioners may have useful advice about treating headaches without medication. That advice will depend on the precise diagnosis for that particular individual.
Make your health-care professional aware that you are interested in natural therapies. That will allow and open and educated discussion. Your healthcare provider should be able to help you make the right decisions and help diagnose the underlying cause of your headaches.
Sometimes natural remedies may be suggested. You may consider discussing natural treatments for headaches witha qualified, licensed natural health practitioner. Natural health experts for headache include licensed naturopathic doctors (ND or NMD), licensed acupuncturists (LAc or DAOM), massage therapists (LMP or LMT), and certified Reiki or healing touch practitioners (often licensed as nurses or one of the professions listed above).
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Headaches can be divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches are considered primary headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by disease. Headache symptoms vary with the headache type. Over-the-counter pain relievers provide short-term relief for most headaches.
Triggers for migraine headaches include certain foods, stress, hormonal changes, strong stimuli (loud noises), and oversleeping.
Treatment guidelines for migraines include medicine, pain management, diet changes, avoiding foods that trigger migraines, staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly. Prevention of migraine triggers include getting regular exercise, drinking water daily, reducing stress, and avoiding trigger foods.
Headaches are the most common reason why a person goes to the doctor or other healthcare professional for treatment. There are different types of headaches, for example, migraine, tension, and cluster headaches. The most common type of headache is tension headache. Migraine is much less common. There are few similarities between migraine and other headaches, for example, the severity of the pain can be the same, mild, moderate, or severe; and they can occur on one side or both sides of the head. However, there are many differences between migraine and other types of headaches. Migraine headaches also have different names, for example, migraine with aura and menstrual migraine.
Symptoms of migraine that usually aren't experienced by a person with another type of headache are:
Migraine trigger (examples)
Untreated migraine attacks usually last from 4 to 72 hours, but may last for weeks. Most headaches resolve within 24-48 hours. Doctors don't know exactly what causes migraine headaches; however, other headaches like tension headaches have more specific triggers and causes. Additional tests usually are required to diagnose migraine from other types of headaches, diseases, or other medical problems. Most headaches can be treated and cured with home remedies like essential oils, massage, and over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn) or ibuprofen (Advil, Midol, Motrin). Most headaches resolve with OTC and home remedy treatment, while your doctor may need to prescribe medication to treat your migraines.If you have the "worst headache of your life," seek medical care immediately.
Occipital neuralgia is a type of headache that involves inflammation or irritation of occipital nerves. Signs and symptoms include a stabbing and throbbing head pain, and an aching pain in the upper back of the head and neck.
Potential causes include infection, irritation, or trauma of the occipital nerves. This type of headache is diagnosed by physical examination findings and imaging tests. Treatment involves a multidisciplinary approach that includes massage, rest, physical therapy, heat, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Invasive procedures and even surgery may be considered if first-line treatments fail to bring relief from the chronic pain of this type of headache.
A tension headache s one of the most common types of headaches, and the exact cause is not known. Factors that may contribute to tension or stress headaches are lack of sleep, increased stress (referred to as a stress headache), skipping meals, dehydration, medical diseases or conditions, anxiety, or changes at home, work, or school. Treatment of tension headaches include prescription and OTC medications, stress management, and treating any underlying illness or condition.