Headache Triggers

Stress as a Trigger

Stress is the most common trigger of headaches. Events like getting married, moving to a new home, or having a baby are all sources of stress. However, studies have found that it is the day-to-day stresses, not these major life changes, that are most often linked to headaches.
For example, daily stresses for women can include juggling many roles -- such as being a mother and wife, having a career, and dealing with financial pressures. Learning to make time for yourself and finding healthy ways to deal with stress are important. Some things you can do to help prevent or reduce stress include:
  • Eating a heart-healthy diet
  • Being active (at least 30 minutes per day on most days of the week is best)
  • Doing relaxation exercises
  • Getting enough sleep.
Also, it may be helpful to pinpoint which factors in your life cause stress. You may find that you can even avoid some of these stresses. For other stresses that you can't control, try to think of things you can do ahead of time to help you cope with them.

Foods That Trigger Headaches

It may seem hard to believe that eating such seemingly harmless foods as yogurt, nuts, and lima beans can result in painful headaches, especially in people with migraine headaches. However, some scientists believe that these foods and several others contain chemical substances, such as tyramine, which constrict arteries -- the first step of the migraine process.
Other scientists believe that foods can cause headaches by setting off an allergic reaction in susceptible people.
(Click Migraine Food Triggers to learn about specific foods that can cause a migraine.)
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