Top potential triggers for headaches

Many consider stress and yearly cold as triggers for headaches. It is sad to note that these are not just the only triggers, but there are several that you should be familiar with in order to prevent an episode.

Whether a headache is minor or severe, being familiar with potential triggers can reduce the likelihood for an attack to occur.

Repressed anger

When angry, the muscles in the back of the neck and scalp become tense, thus causing a tight band-like sensation around the head. Take note that this is an indication of a tension headache.

The best way to deal with this potential trigger for headaches is to breathe deeply and slowly when starting to feel angry. Inhale via the nose and exhale via the mouth to help relax the muscles in the neck and head.


Headache triggers

Exposure to glare and bright lights particularly those that flicker can trigger migraines.

If an individual is susceptible to headaches, changes in the weather can trigger an episode. The changes in pressure that lead to weather changes are believed to instigate electrical and chemical changes in the brain. As a result, the nerves are irritated which leads to a headache.


There are certain foods that can trigger headaches. The following foods contain chemicals that can trigger a migraine:

  • Aged cheeses
  • Chocolate
  • Processed meats and fish
  • Diet carbonated beverages

The individual should note down foods eaten and when a headache is triggered. Once the trigger foods are determined, they must be eliminated from the diet for several months to check if the frequency of headaches is reduced.

Poor posture

Poor posture can trigger tension in the upper back, shoulders and neck that can lead to a headache. In most cases, there is throbbing pain in the base of the skull and oftentimes flashes into the face, particularly the forehead.

The individual must avoid sitting or standing in one position for extended periods. Always sit up straight and support the lower back.

Bright lights

Exposure to glare and bright lights particularly those that flicker can trigger migraines. Take note that flickering light boosts the levels of certain chemicals in the brain which trigger the migraine center.

Sunglasses must be used to reduce the intensity of light and can be used indoors or outdoors. The polarized lenses also reduce the glare. When working with a computer for extended periods, adjust the monitor or attach a glare screen.

Teeth grinding

Grinding the teeth at night time (bruxism) causes the contraction of the jaw muscles, thus resulting to a dull headache. It is best to consult a dentist so that a mouth guard can be fitted to protect the teeth while sleeping.

Certain scents or odors

Household cleansers as well as air fresheners and perfumes contain chemicals that can trigger headaches. Individuals who are prone to headaches due to certain smells should avoid heavy perfumes as well as strong-smelling shampoos, soaps and conditioners.

Always keep the windows and doors open as much as possible while at home and only use air fresheners and household cleaners that are fragrance-free.


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