Suffering from frequent headaches can really impact your quality of life. Headaches can make everything in your life more difficult from your performance at work to your relationships at home. If you don’t feel well, it might seem like the only thing you’re great at doing is laying in bed with the lights off waiting for the pain to stop. If you’re suffering from frequent headaches or migraines, you need a headache and migraine treatment that will help. But first, you need to figure out the cause of your headaches.
1. Certain Foods
You might be eating a certain food on a daily basis that’s causing you frequent headaches and migraines without evening realizing it. For instance, foods containing MSG, chocolate, cured meats, aged cheeses, pickled and fermented foods, frozen foods, salty foods, and foods heavy in preservatives are all common triggers of migraines. To make sure food isn’t triggering your migraine, keep a food journal, and make note of what days you get migraines. If there is a certain food in common with headache days, eliminate it from your diet to see if you also eliminate migraines.
When you’re feeling stressed, it’s often accompanied by a headache or migraine. This is for a few reasons. For one, when you feel stressed, the muscles on the back of your neck and scalp tend to compress which causes muscle tension. These muscles span across your head and when they become strained, it can result in a headache. Additionally, many people grind and clench their teeth when they’re feeling stressed which puts a strain on the muscles located near the jaw which also span to the temples and behind the neck. Stress can lead to decreased sleep, changes in appetite, and lead to unhealthy food choices which can cause headaches.
Try to pinpoint the stressors in your life and find healthy ways to reduce stress so you can rule out whether or not they’re causing your headaches.
3. Clenching and Grinding
If you clench or grind your teeth at night, it can cause the muscles in your jaw to become strained and sore. This pain can span across your face and lead to headaches and migraines. Wearing a nightguard when you sleep can help prevent you from clenching your teeth together while you sleep and thus prevent headaches and migraines. However, clenching and grinding can also be an indicator of a bigger problem occurring like TMJ or sleep apnea. It’s best to visit a dentist to fully understand your condition and get the best treatment possible.
4. Hormonal Changes
Shifts in hormones can also trigger migraines. Women often experience hormonal changes due to taking birth control or hormone replacement. Hormonal changes also occur during pregnancy, menopause, and menstruation. If you believe your headaches are related to hormonal changes, it’s best to speak with your doctor for solutions.
Drinking alcohol can cause headaches for several reasons. For one, it contains histamine, a chemical that boosts inflammation in your body. Ethanol is also the main ingredient in alcohol and when it gets into your body, it can trigger a migraine. Lastly, people often forget to stay hydrated when they drink alcohol so they end up with a headache due to dehydration. If you notice that you get a headache every time you consume alcohol, consider cutting back or stopping completely.
6. Not Eating Enough
Skipping meals, not eating enough, or eating foods high in sugar can all trigger headaches or migraines. This is due to low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. To avoid headaches due to low blood sugar, make sure to eat regularly, and the recommended amount. Talk to your doctor before going on a low-calorie diet to ensure you’re still eating enough.
If you’re not drinking enough water throughout the day, you’re likely to experience a headache or migraine. This is because when you don’t consume enough water, the brain temporarily shrinks from fluid loss. The shrinkage causes the brain to pull away from the skull which can result in a headache. Once you rehydrate, the brain will plump back up and your headache should subside.
Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners can trigger migraines and also make your sugar cravings even worse. Try to avoid artificial sweeteners and limit your intake of added sugar to prevent headaches from all types of sweeteners.
9. Weather Changes
As the barometric pressure changes with the weather, it can often trigger a headache. Pay attention to weather patterns and when you get headaches or migraines. If you notice a trend, you can at least prepare for your migraines in advance by taking a look at the weather forecast.
Another common cause of frequent headaches and migraines is TMJ. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder is a condition that indicates the jaw system including the jaw joints, muscles, and nerves has an imbalance. The imbalance causes inflammation and often results in headaches and migraines. Symptoms include popping and clicking in the jaw, tinnitus, neck, face, and back pain, and clenching and grinding. The best way to find out if you have TMJ is to visit a dentist for an evaluation. With treatment, your headaches should subside.
11. Sleep Apnea
The last possible cause of migraines and headaches is sleep apnea. When someone has sleep apnea, they stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night. When this occurs, not only are they not getting a restful night of sleep and experience sleep deprivation, but they are also experiencing low oxygen levels and high dioxide levels. People with sleep apnea often wake up with headaches and also experience loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, lack of concentration, clenching and grinding, and more. With sleep apnea treatment though, frequent headaches and migraines will become less common and in some cases become non-existent.
Find Out If Sleep Apnea is the Cause of Your Migraines
If you suffer from frequent headaches and migraines, you might suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening disorder if left untreated and can greatly impact the quality of your life.
To find out if you have sleep apnea, take our Sleep Apnea Risk Quiz and then schedule a new patient appointment at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha for an evaluation and to take a home sleep test. Once you receive a diagnosis, we can recommend the best sleep apnea treatment for your needs and help you experience a headache- and migraine-free life.
Improve your health and quality of life today. Book an appointment by calling (402) 493-4175 today.