It starts with mild discomfort in your temples or neck. Then it grows to a throbbing pain in one or both sides of your head. You never know when a headache might strike. When it does, it can cause your mood to plummet and ruin your day. If you get headaches or migraines, you already know how debilitating they can be and would do anything to prevent them.
The experts at Michigan Neurology Associates are here to offer some lifestyle tips on how to avoid headache triggers so you can live more comfortably.
Headaches are extremely common — 50%-75% of adults have experienced a headache in the past year. Most headaches aren’t a serious matter and don’t require medical attention unless they happen often. Headaches can be caused by various settings, changes, and triggers. Some common headache triggers include:
- Skipping meals
- Poor sleep quality
- Bad posture
- Certain foods
All of these triggers can be addressed with lifestyle changes.
Limit alcohol consumption
It’s no secret that alcohol is a common culprit of headaches. But why there’s a link between the two isn’t entirely known. Alcohol contains histamine, a nitrogenous compound that causes inflammation in your body and may be responsible. Dark-colored alcohols often contain congeners that may contribute to head pain.
One of the best ways to dodge a headache is to avoid alcohol. If that’s out of the question, limit your intake to one drink. Although it may be hard to say no in social settings, dealing with a headache is often a worse consequence. Try drinking mocktails or other non-alcoholic drinks to curb your desire to alcohol.
Watch what you eat
The foods you eat influence your mood and function. Studies have found that specific substances found in food are to blame for many food-related headaches. Monosodium glutamate (MSG), a common ingredient in Chinese food, causes headaches in many individuals.
Foods that contain nitrates, like bacon and ham, can also trigger headaches. Aspartame, an artificial sweetener found in diet drinks, is another common cause of head pain.
As with alcohol, the best way to ensure you don’t get a headache is by avoiding certain foods altogether. Make a note of what foods you ate prior to developing a headache so you can determine what you may need to stay away from.
Get quality sleep
This lifestyle tip is easier said than done. Regardless, getting a quality night’s sleep can do wonders for your mood and well-being. That’s why you should do everything you can to ensure you get solid shut-eye.
Limiting your screen time before bed can help you feel more rested in the morning. Make sure not to drink caffeine late in the day or early evening. Caffeine can prevent you from feeling tired enough to fall asleep. If you have trouble sleeping in new places, try taking melatonin to help you feel more relaxed and ready for z’s.
Some headaches are caused by poor sleep posture. A great way to prevent head and neck pain is sleeping on a pillow that keeps your head in a neutral position. If you tend to sleep on your stomach, try to adjust to sleeping on your back or side.
Keep a journal
One of the best ways to pinpoint the cause of your headaches or migraines is to keep a daily journal. You may discover a common trigger or pattern in your lifestyle that’s causing your head pain.
Everyone gets a headache here and there. But if you get them often, you may be suffering from migraines. Find out more about headache triggers or migraines today by calling one of our three convenient Michigan Neurology Associates locations in Clinton Township, St. Clair Shores and Utica, Michigan.