Health & Wellness Articles

5 Healthy Habits That Can Cause Headaches

These Good-for-You Habits Might Be a Pain in the Head

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Packing Your Lunch
While brown bagging is great for your wallet—and can help you avoid empty calories, sodium and fat from fast food havens—the lunch meat in your sandwich may contain nitrates, another migraine trigger. Check labels for this ingredient as you shop, and search for "nitrate-free" versions of sliced meats, bacon, hot dogs, sausage and other processed meats. Ready to experiment? Try a soy-based meat replacement or craft your sandwich from fresh roasted turkey or chicken—not the packaged deli slices. Get more healthy lunch ideas.

Hitting the Gym
Regular exercise can help prevent chronic illness, boost your mood and lengthen your lifespan, among a host of other benefits. But while consistent sweat sessions are great for you, they can also trigger head pain if you've increased your workout intensity quickly, worked very intensely or become dehydrated. Overall, regular exercise has been shown to help diminish recurrent headaches, so don't limit your trips to the gym. Instead, keep an eye on your fluid intake, especially when increasing the length or intensity of your sessions.
 
Headaches are a nuisance to some and a truly debilitating health conditions for others. Treatment can take time, because many of the successful prevention strategies rely on careful trial and error. If your headaches are migraines, dietary triggers may be a key, whereas other types of headaches may be more likely to be triggered by dehydration, tension and other habits. Not sure? If headaches persist, be sure to speak with your physician.

Sources
Department of Internal Medicine: Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes, "Hypoglycemia (Low Book Sugar) in People without Diabetes," www.med.umich.edu, accessed April 12, 2013.

Drescher, MJ;  Elstein, Y. "Prophylactic COX 2 inhibitor: an end to the Yom Kippur headache," Headache, 2006 Nov-Dec;46(10):1487-91.

Johns Hopkins Medicine News & Information Service, "Caffeine Withdrawal Recognized as a Disorder," www.hopkinsmedicine.org, accessed April 12, 2013.

Juliano, Laura M.; Griffiths, Roland R. "A Critical Review of Caffeine Withdrawal: Empirical Validation of Symptoms and Signs, Incidence, Severity, and Associated Features." Pyschopharmacology (2004) 176: 1-29.

Medline Plus, "Migraine," www.nlm.nih.gov, accessed April 12,2013.

NHS Choices, "10 Surprising Headache Triggers," www.nhs.uk, accessed April 12, 2013.

Sam Houston State University Counseling Center, "Headaches," www.shsu.edu, accessed April 12, 2013.                                                                                                                     

University of Minnesota, Taking Charge of Your Health, "Migraines," http://takingcharge.csh.umn.edu, accessed April 12, 2013.
 
 
 
 
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About The Author

Robin Donovan Robin Donovan
Robin Donovan is a Cincinnati-based freelance writer and magazine journalist with experience covering health, medicine, science, business, technology and design.

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