What Causes a Headache Anyway?

  • 10 Most Common Headache Triggers

    It’s not just loud music or a tight deadline or even an impending visit from your mother-in-law. With so much going on, it can be hard to avoid headaches, but there are a few common (and unexpected) things you can learn to avoid to prevent pain in the future.

  • 10 / Anxiety

    Stress can take a toll on you. Breathe, relax and take a stroll.

  • 9 / Glare

    Brightness from your computer screen, sunlight or overhead lights can make things painful. Turn it down and try adding a desk lamp.

  • 8 / Noise

    It’s not just loud, repetitive sounds. Even lower level on continuous noise can hurt. Calming music and headphones may help.

  • 7 / Eating + Sleeping Patterns

    Eat when you’re hungry. Sleep enough (not too much or too little), and don’t sleep in an odd position in a cold room – it can make your muscles spasm.

  • 6 / Medication

    Some prescription medications may have the potential to trigger a headache. If you notice an increase, talk to your doctor.

  • 5 / Physical Activity

    Take it easy in the gym. Pushing too hard can result in an exertional headache from the swelling of blood vessels in your head, neck and scalp.

  • 4 / Lack of Physical Activity

    Even though over-exertion can increase your risk for headaches, staying sedentary doesn't help either. As with most things in life, moderation is key. Talk to your doctor before beginning or revising any exercise regimen.

  • 3 / Posture

    Your mom was right! Sit up straight to keep blood flowing (and move around when you can if you spend extended periods of time bent over a desk).

  • 2 / Hormones

    When estrogen levels drop (especially right before your period), you may be more likely to get a headache. Keep track of your cycle and plan when you can.

  • 1 / Food Sensitivities

    Food and drink release neurotransmitters, which can cause headaches in some people. Triggers include aspartame, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, cheese and more.

  • “So what should I do?”

    Well, every body is different. But knowing what works for you (and what doesn’t) can help you avoid headaches in the future. Listen to your body. It’s smarter than you think! Experiment and see what works for you.