Causes of Headaches and Suggested Tips

It’s easy to blame headaches on the usual suspects, such as hangovers or skipping your morning dose of caffeine, but you may be surprised when you find out what the causes of some of your headaches  are. When you find out what causes your headaches, it becomes a lot easier to find the right relief for them. Below are some headache causes and tips to fix them where possible.

Causes of Headaches

Stay Away From Cheddar Cheese and Luncheon Meats – Certain foods such as fermented or aged products like cheddar cheese, cider vinegar and soy sauce contain an amino acid called tyramine that can trigger headaches by constricting and expanding blood vessels. Luncheon meats such as salami and bologna contain both tyramine and preservatives called nitrates, which can increase blood flow to the brain.

Suggested Tip - Use a journal to keep track of what you eat and how your mood is after you eat them.  If you find that certain foods trigger off your headaches, leave them out of your diet for a while and see if it helps.

Poor Posture – Poor posture when you’re in the office in front of your computer, or at home in front of your TV, causes tension in your neck and shoulders and upper back, which can lead to a headache. When you’re in front of your computer or TV, poor posture is not the only thing that can trigger a headache. The bright light from the screens can strain your eyes which also lead to unwanted headaches.

Suggested Tip – Sit up straight and support your lower back when you are sitting for long periods in front of the TV or your computer. Avoid staring at your computer screen or TV set for long periods; try having a 1-2 minute break every 15-20 minutes so your eyes have time to rest.  When you feel your eyes dry up and sting, use eye drops to keep them hydrated. You can also set your computer monitor so the top of the screen to be just slightly below eye level.

Grinding Teeth – If you often have a headache when you wake up in the morning, it might be because you are grinding your teeth while you are sleeping. The medical name for this action is called “bruxism” and it can happen due to stress, medications or poor jaw alignment.

Suggested Tip – You can go for a dentist check-up to see whether there are any signs of tooth grinding or worn-down teeth. Your dentist can make you a custom night guard which will keep your teeth from touching and help realign your bite while you sleep.

Too Much Relaxing – When the long hard week at work has finally come to an end, it’s time to relax during the weekend. But too much relaxing can actually do you more harm than good. As the tension of the week subsides, your levels of stress hormones drop, which can cause a rapid release of neurotransmitters which are the brains chemical “messengers”.  These messengers tend to send impulses to blood vessels, to constrict and then dilate, which in turn then cause a headache.

Suggested Tip – Try to avoid sleeping for more than 8 hours at a time, even though it’s your “relaxing days”. Find additional methods of relaxing during the weekends. Try and spread your relaxing moments, including your sleep, throughout the week if possible.

When is the best time to consult a doctor about your headaches? 

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