Most headaches are what’s called idiopathic — that is, they have no clear cause, which is why they’re so hard to fix. However, four of the most common headache instigators can be prevented easily by avoiding the following:
- Caffeine.Coffee is delicious and helps you to stay alert, but having too much coffee (or soda, or tea) too often can create a physical dependence. When you are physically addicted to caffeine, not drinking enough can cause a blinding headache.The solution? Drink a little bit of a caffeinated beverage, or take a pain medicine that contains caffeine.
The prevention? Gradually ease back on your caffeine intake — or make sure to drink enough coffee to stave off withdrawal.
- Allergies.Some allergic reactions can cause your head to pound. If you suddenly get a headache after dusting your bookcase (or eating dairy), allergies might be the cause.The solution? Supplement your pain pill with allergy medicine.
The prevention? Take a Benadryl before you tackle your spring cleaning, or avoid the offending food.
- Stress. Muscle tension, especially when provoked by stress, can bring on a monster headache.
The solution? Consciously relax your facial muscles, especially your jaw.
The prevention? Work on your stress management. Figure out what stresses you out and try to modulate your reaction.
- Hangover. Whether it’s sulfites from red wine, impurities from cheap vodka, or dehydration from the alcohol itself, having a little too much cheer can result in a throbbing head.
The solution? Take your favorite pain reliever, one at a time to avoid upsetting your stomach any further. Just make sure to avoid acetaminophen, because it can magnify alcohol’s effect on your liver.
The prevention? According to Johns Hopkins and your own instinct: Don’t drink so much next time!