Headache That Refuses to Go Away? Beware of These Pain Triggers

Headache That Refuses to Go Away? Beware of These Pain Triggers

5 min read
Headache That Refuses to Go Away? Beware of These Pain Triggers

Did you miss out on your daily dose of high-octane coffee today? There, the pounding has begun. Or was it the junk food you ate…

The triggers for headaches are many and myriad. Often, what’s on your plate may also be in your head. Below is a list of common triggers that set off that dread-in-the-head, along with their snuffing solutions. Pick out your bully!


Caffeine drinkers tend to have more headaches than non-users.

Caffeine drinkers tend to have more headaches than non-users. Yet, caffeine has a paradoxical effect, as going cold turkey too causes drastic withdrawal symptoms, head throbbing included.

Head-ache make-up: Generalised head pain (moderate to severe in intensity), irritability, depression, nausea and other side effects.

Making headway: Best way is to taper off the consumption and cut the dependence decidedly.


Do you know how to cure that horrible hangover?

When you chug down alcohol like there is no tomorrow, you always wake up with a splitting headache next morning.

That’s because alcohol dehydrates you, and when brain cells are de-hydrated, they shrink and stretch the nerve endings causing thumping headaches. Alcohol peaks and then plummets the blood sugar too, again leading to aches.

Head-ache make-up: Throbbing, pounding pain throughout the head, often accompanied by dry mouth, nausea or dizziness.

Making headway: Drink lots of water to help re-hydrate your system before going to bed and also first thing in the morning. The faster you replenish your fluid loss, the better. Zero in on drinks with vitamin B - it helps the body process and eliminate alcohol faster, thus preventing debilitating headaches.


Hunger also sparks headaches.

Hunger also sparks headaches. Pain that strikes just before mealtimes is caused by muscle tension and expansion of blood vessels due to low blood sugar.

Head-ache make-up: Generalised headache accompanied with irritability, sweating, dizziness, nausea, cold sweats and cravings for sweets.

Making headway: Chuck irregular eating habits, don’t skip any meal and eat enough complex carbohydrates and protein during the day.

Cold Foods

These come on hard and fast and then disappear quickly too.

Extremely cold foods can set in motion a chain of events that lead to a typical pain in the head called the ‘ice cream head-aches’. When very cold foods touch the top of the mouth, some-times they stimulate the nerves that travel to the brain, leading to expansion and contraction of blood vessels in the front of the head, in a way similar to that of migraine headache.

Head-ache make-up: Sudden intense stabbing pain that seems to originate behind the bridge of the nose and radiate through the head. These come on hard and fast and then disappear quickly too.

Making headway: always take small bites or sips of cold items. And those prone to migraines should limit intake of frozen fare, or let cold foods warm up a bit before biting in being prone to mi-graines ups the chances for cold-caused headaches.

The Junk We Eat

Junk food contains high amounts of saturated fat and is harmful for your heart’s health.

Some of the most common triggers of headaches could be hiding in your favourite foods. Certain types of food additives and preservatives like nitrates, nitrites, monosodium glutamate and artificial sweeteners (be careful of diet sodas!) are known to be active triggers. Sometimes, chocolates and citrus fruits(in some people) too can cause gastric irritation and trigger migraines. Another common type of headaches is the red wine headache (RWH) caused by the presence of sulfites in red wine as many people are allergic to them.

Head-ache make-up: Throbbing pain with a general, ill-feeling.

Making headway: Follow an appropriate headache-prevention diet. Avoid processed foods as much as possible. Maintaining a headache diary will also help.

Tyramine Culprits

These reactions are personal and subjective.

Even if you’re not prone to migraines, certain foods that have high tyramine levels can still cause headaches. Tyramine is an amino acid that most people can easily digest, but with those with enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO) deficiency (and those who are on antidepressants), its breakdown process gets disturbed often leading to headaches. It is found in aged cheese, pickled and fermented foods, cured meats, ripe avocados and bananas, fermented soy products, certain nuts, smoked meats and fish. But these reactions are very individual.

Head-ache make-up: A throbbing pain in the nerves and muscles of the head and neck.

Making headway: Avoid these foods if you notice that ripe tyramine foods cause distress.


Painkillers are not a long-term solution.

Pain relievers including acetaminophen and aspirin taken regularly can bring on a rebound effect. Most prescription migraine medications too can cause rebound headaches if you overuse them.

Head-ache make-up: Throbbing pain of painkillers related mi-graine often occurs in the morning upon waking up.

Making headway: Discontinue the use of all analgesics until your body straightens itself out. Gradually cut down on the use of medication to minimize the unpleasant side effects of going cold turkey.

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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