There are few things more difficult than trying to do life with a headache — and finding out you’re to blame doesn't make it any easier. But recognizing how your bad habits impact your headaches is a crucial step in finding lasting relief.
Here, Dr. David Wu, our interventional pain management specialist at CurePain, takes a closer look at a few of the things you do every day that exacerbate your headaches.
Tension in your muscles (especially those in your forehead, jaw, scalp, neck, shoulders, back, and chest) is one of the most common causes of headache and migraine attacks. Muscle tension can stem from a wide range of factors, including stress and overexertion.
Posture isn’t just about sitting up straight; it has a significant impact on your physical health. If you’re constantly slouching when you sit and stand, or if your sleep posture causes spinal misalignment, you’re adding to the stress your neck and shoulders already deal with. This added pressure is a common culprit of headaches.
Have you ever wondered why it’s called “junk” food? That’s because processed treats and sugary, carbonated drinks all contain additives (or “junk”) to make them taste better and last longer. These additives are notorious for triggering headaches.
But a poor diet doesn’t just refer to what you eat. When and how you fuel your body is just as important. For example, skipping meals, overindulging, and letting yourself get dehydrated all contribute to more frequent and severe headaches.
Bright lights, loud noise, strong odors — these are all things in your environment that might be setting off an avalanche of headache pain. This is especially true if your job requires a large amount of screen time.
If you’re around audio or visual stimulants all day, do your best to take frequent breaks throughout your workday. Once you get home, give your eyes a rest by powering down your devices.
Teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) is another common cause of headaches — and it’s one you might not even realize you’re doing. As you clench and grind your teeth, you put an inordinate amount of stress on the muscles in your jaw and head, which can lead to headaches, as well as pain in your neck, shoulder, ears, and eyes.
Most people develop bruxism as a result of stress, but it may come from an underlying medical or dental problem.
This may seem counterintuitive. Aren’t pain medications supposed to help headaches? The simple answer is yes, but only if taken responsibly. It’s tempting to reach for your medication any time an attack develops, but taking pain medication too often can cause rebound headaches. These headaches are typically worse than the original headache and cause you to take even more medication.
The result is a dangerous cycle of headache pain and medications that have a reverse effect on your symptoms.
There are more than 150 different types of headaches and many triggers and causes. With numbers like those, the battle against headaches can seem overwhelming if not impossible.
Fortunately, Dr. Wu offers a wide range of headache treatments that address virtually any type of headache. We begin by conducting a thorough review of your health history, symptoms, and treatment goals. Then, depending on your needs, we may recommend a course of targeted medication either injected or taken orally.
We also come alongside you to help you understand and identify the triggers and habits in your life that are making your headaches worse.
If you’re ready to take the first steps toward a headache-free life, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at our Torrance, California, office today.