1. Foods can trigger headaches. These include foods with nitrates such as hot dogs and prepared meats. MSG can also cause headaches. Alcohol containing drinks including red wine and rum can cause headaches and the sudden withdrawal from caffeine containing drinks can trigger headaches.
2. Weather changes including extreme temperatures, changing temperature, barometric pressure or humidity and sudden weather changes can cause headaches
3. Sudden or prolonged exposure to the sun, flickering or shimmering light, glares and reflected light can set off headaches. Loud noises and certain smells can trigger a headache. When these triggers occur concurrently you are at the highest risk.
4. Make sure you are properly hydrated. This is a major problem during the summer months and even during the school year when children consume less water so they do not need to use the bathroom. If your urine is not almost colorless throughout the day you are at risk for causing a headache.
5. Be cautious with the timing and amount of exercise you engage in. Sudden strenuous exercise can set off strain induced exertional headaches.
6. Don’t get caught off guard and forget to take ibuprofen with you. If you feel a headache starting it is important to take your medication as early as possible and give it time to work. If you are on specific medication to halt the progression of a headache always carry it with you.
7. Use a liquid or gel preparation of ibuprofen. It gets into your system faster and stops a headache before it progresses to a point of no return.
8. Rest and relaxation or sleep in a cool, quiet and dark room can often help resolve an oncoming headache.
9. Do not overuse pain medication. Overuse of pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can bring on rebound headaches. Keep their use to less than 1 dose per week.
10. Stress can cause headaches. Learn some relaxation techniques including breathing exercises or guided positive imagery and progressive relaxation techniques. Breathe in through your nose to a count of 4 and then breathe out through your mouth to a count of 8. Do 4 cycles and see how much better you feel.