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Posted in 20 by Amelia Grant

7 Benign Headache Triggers

7 Benign Headache Triggers

Headaches can be a difficult health problem to deal with. Although severe headaches and migraines are very common in the United States, affecting roughly 20% of women and 10% of men, according to the American Headache Society, and are usually benign, headaches can occasionally be associated with a life-threatening health crisis.

The main question is: how can you tell when your headache is a cause for concern? What indicators can you look for to tell the difference between a regular headache caused by stress, a migraine attack, and something much more serious like a stroke or a brain tumor?

When a headache is substantially worse than the headaches you regularly get, it could be an indication of something dangerous. Another red flag is if the headache is accompanied by unfamiliar symptoms.

It's significant if the headache is the worst you've ever had, or if it's accompanied by fever, neck stiffness, weakness or numbness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking, loss of consciousness, confusion, vision loss, or any other neurological symptom.

The majority of headaches are caused by less significant causes. The following are a few of the most common:

1. Stress

Stress headaches, also known as tension headaches, are characterized by a bandlike sensation around the forehead that develops during the day.

Although stress headaches are inconvenient, they are usually not serious. According to the experts, stress can be managed with a range of lifestyle changes or drugs.

Aerobic activity, biofeedback, relaxation training, and meditation are all options that can help reduce stress and alleviate tension headaches.

Tension headaches can be relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

2. Allergies 

If the sinuses become inflamed or infected as a result of allergies, headaches can be a symptom. Allergy headaches are characterized by a sense of pressure in the forehead, face, or behind the eyes, as well as common allergy symptoms, including sneezing, nasal congestion, and itching.

Over-the-counter pain relievers, as well as treatment for the underlying allergy, may be used to treat allergy headaches. Pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, certain foods are all allergy triggers. Common allergy treatment may be recommended or prescribed by your doctor, as well as helping you discover triggers to avoid.

3. Perimenopause

Migraine symptoms normally improve after menopause transition; around 70% of women no longer suffer from migraines at this time.

However, because hormones change and fluctuate so frequently throughout perimenopause, it can be a tough time. Perimenopause is the time when a woman's body is transitioning to menopause, which can last anywhere from months to years.

If you experience migraines during perimenopause or if they worsen, your doctor may prescribe low-dose estrogen on the days before your period or some types of birth control to deal with hormone fluctuations.

4. Menstrual Cycle 

Migraine attacks frequently occur during a woman's menstrual cycle. In fact, up to 60% of migraine sufferers have episodes that coincide with their menstrual cycle.

Changes in estrogen levels can induce migraine headaches, and estrogen levels drop around the time a woman begins her monthly period. They can be fairly severe, last for several days, and be extremely debilitating.

Birth control pills, pain killers, and migraine-specific drugs may assist with these headaches. According to Hindiyeh, there's also evidence that taking a magnesium supplement can aid with migraines.

Oral magnesium, for example, was found to dramatically reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines in a meta-analysis published in Pain Physician.

5. Smoking

Nicotine alters brain blood arteries, and cigarette smoke irritates nerves in the nose and throat, both of which can cause migraine attacks or headaches.

Some people experience headaches when trying to quit smoking, but nicotine gum usually helps. The health benefits of stopping smoking definitely outweigh any inconvenience.

6. Taking too much pain medication

The use of pain relievers for persistent headaches on a regular basis can actually cause more headaches. According to the American Migraine Foundation, medication-overuse headache (MOH) is a chronic daily headache that occurs when  acute headache or migraine drugs are used more than two or three days per week.

Over-the-counter pain medicines like acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen (Aleve), and combination pain relievers with aspirin and caffeine have all been related to these headaches.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, prescription medicines such as triptans, ergotamines, and opioids are linked to MOH.

Stopping the commonly used drug is the best treatment for this type of headache. People who develop MOH should work with their doctor to find bridge therapy and lifestyle changes that will help them manage their pain while they are weaning off the drug and going forward.

7. Caffeine

Caffeine and headaches can have a delicate relationship. Some people consume a cup of coffee or take a caffeine-containing medicine to relieve a headache, but the stimulant can cause an attack in others.

Caffeine consumption can cause headaches as well as caffeine withdrawal headaches. These are frequently severe, ongoing headaches that do not resolve with strong pain relievers but improve rapidly when coffee is reintroduced.

Whether you suffer from caffeine withdrawal headaches, talk to your doctor about gently weaning yourself off caffeine over the course of a month to see if the pain subsides.

Posted By

Amelia Grant

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