Understanding some most common headache triggers and ways to prevent them


Headaches can be debilitating, painful, and downright inconvenient. Some are caused by stress, while others have more practical causes. Did you know that there are actually ways for you to prevent the onset of most common headaches?

Here we’ll discuss preventative methods that can help ward off headaches and help you get through your day pain free!

Understanding types of headache triggers

Sleep pattern

It’s important to first note that most headaches are triggered by an outside source. The key to headache prevention is to first identify the trigger or source of your headache. Some headache triggers include:

  • Stress
  • Sleep patterns
  • Changes in food and drink
  • Eye strain

Let’s first take a closer look at these triggers.


Stress, tension, or headaches are caused due to muscle contraction in the neck area. Often times when someone feels stress or anxiety, the body tenses up, causing muscle contraction. Remaining in a state of extreme stress or tension can lead to this type of headache.

Sleep Patterns

Both too much and too little sleep can lead to headaches. When you are sleep-deprived, your body produces high levels of proteins that affect your nervous system and can actually cause pain.

Too much sleep can have a negative impact on pain levels also. This is because oversleeping effects certain neurotransmitters in the brain and can actually lead to head pain.

Changes in Diet


You’d be surprised to learn how much the foods and drinks you consume can impact the overall function of your body. When it comes to headache pain, certain foods and drinks can act as triggers.

Too much or too little coffee can cause caffeine related headaches, depending on your regular intake. Other ingredients like aspartame, MSG, and other food additives have also been reported to cause headaches. Not eating enough or often enough can lead to a drop in blood-glucose levels and the onset of headaches.

Eye Strain

Eye strain is also described as improper focusing. When you experience eye strain, you are often unconsciously clenching the muscles of your eyelids, jaw, temples, and face. This muscle contraction is what can lead to ocular headaches.

Headache Prevention

common headache

Now that you know some of the triggers that can cause headaches, you can start to take preventative methods to keep these triggers and headache pain at bay.

Identify the Trigger

The first step in headache prevention is identifying which of the above triggers relate to you. Keeping a diary or journal is a great way to pinpoint your headache triggers. Do they happen after long hours on the computer or after eating certain foods? When you sleep through your alarm, do you wake with a headache? And do you need your morning caffeine to ward off pain?

You might also want to take note of how much exercise you perform throughout the day and how often you eat. All of these variables can help better pinpoint the cause of your headache, which then leads to prevention.


A consistent routine throughout your day can actually help prevent headaches. Try eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner around the same time each day. Vary your workouts, but not so drastically that you’re body is left in shock or overly exerted. If you can, try to wake up each morning around the same time and be in bed at the same time each night. Our bodies thrive on routine and a steady, consistent schedule can help you remain pain free.

Sleeping Positions

Neck strain can cause a whole host of medical problems, including headaches. Do you prop your pillows up at night? If so, be sure that you’re not straining your neck. Not enough elevation of your pillows can have an adverse effect as well.

Certain pillows can aid in relaxation and pain-free sleep. There are foam, cotton, and down pillows just to name a few. Take note of which one offers you equal parts comfort and support.

Stay Hydrated


Dehydration can lead to a wide range of health complications, including headaches. You should drink approximately one half to one ounce of water for every pound you weigh. So, if you’re 130 pounds, you should consume between 65 and 130 ounces of water per day.

Reduce Eye Strain

Though this isn’t always possible depending on your occupation, it’s important to limit screen time and exposure to too much or too little light while working. The overstimulation of light, as well as straining to see in poor lighting conditions can lead to eye strain. Signs that you are experiencing eye strain are not just limited to headaches – blurry  and double vision can also accompany this condition.

Maintain Good Posture

This is important for a variety of reasons, but reducing headaches is one of them. Whether you’re on your feet all day or sitting at a desk, try to take notice of your posture. Slouching or walking hunched over puts strain on both your back and neck. This strain leads to muscle tightness and contraction – two things that can cause headaches. Try stretching throughout the day and taking mental checks of how your body is positioned.

Listen to Your Body

Like with most medical conditions, listening to your body is a key component in diagnosis and treatment.

If you suffer from occasional or frequent headaches, take notice of their frequency and when they occur most often. These are great ways to help identify your headache triggers. Once you’ve done this, you can take the necessary steps to prevent and treat your headache pain.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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