After reading today’s excerpt, you may find yourself reaching for a glass of water instead of a pill for your next headache.

The question for most all headache sufferers is, “Is there any relief”? From migraines to tension headaches, it comes down to coping with fighting pain. For those of us who have dealt with headaches, it seems as if we have tried everything to rid ourselves of pain. Sometimes the strategies work and sometimes they don’t. What can we do to find relief from the throbbing, aching, and pounding? It may be as simple as looking at our lifestyles and identifying triggers that can start a headache.

What is a headache trigger? A trigger can be anything from what we eat or drink, our environment (light or odors), stress, or a combination of factors. By simply examining what these triggers are and where they may enter our lives, we may gain some insight to why headaches begin and possibly learn to divert these headaches before they ever start.

Dehydration is a major cause of headaches. 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated) and the coffee and soda we consume only adds to the problem (B. Levine, 2004). Did you have a cup of coffee this morning? Did you have more than one? “You can get headaches from too much caffeine and from caffeine withdrawal. Withdrawal starts from 8 to 16 hours after the last ingestion, which explains why many people get a headache toward the end of their workday, or when they wake up in the morning.” (Healthsquare, 2004). Tyramine is a natural substance found in the body that assists in regulating blood pressure. It is also found in some foods. Tyramine can be found in chocolate, some cheeses, sour cream, soy sauce, yogurt, and some yeast extracts. Some preservatives like nitrites and monosodium glutamate (MSG) can also be triggers to headaches. Common foods containing these chemicals could include: processed meat products, potato chips, dry roasted nuts, salad dressings, and mayonnaise.

Source: “Headache Triggers.”