By Amy Kraft
Millions of Americans suffer from debilitating headaches. According to Mayo Clinic, a primary headache is caused by “problems with or over activity of pain-sensitive structures in your head.” But there are also lesser-known, even strange causes of headaches.
Below is a list of some of the weirder headache triggers.
If you suspect that certain foods are causing your headaches, Dr. Jordan recommends maintaining a food journal to help discover patterns and triggers for your head pain.
Red Wine and Cheese
Mia Minen, MD, neurologist and director of headache services at NYU Langone, says that another reason red wine causes headaches might be related to the presence of polyphenols, which are part of the breakdown of red wine metabolites. “They may interfere with serotonin metabolism in the brain,” she says.
If red wine and cheese gives you headaches, The National Headache Foundation recommends eating only American, farmer or low-fat processed cheeses, and limiting alcohol intake to one beverage.
To avoid dehydration, it is recommended that you consume moderate amounts of water during and after exercise. The Mayo Clinic recommends that men drink about 13 cups of total beverages a day and women drink 9 cups.
To reduce your risk of brain freeze, doctors advise to slowly ingest cold food or beverages.
The National Headache Foundation reports that caffeine withdrawal will occur “after consuming more than 200 mg of caffeine per day for at least 2 weeks.”
But there’s no substitute in place of caffeine to ease withdrawal symptoms. “I recommend a slow withdrawal,” says Jordan. “Steadily decrease your caffeine ingestion on a daily basis.”
When to Seek Medical Help
Minen says that although some doctors prescribe medication to treat headaches, there may be other problems that are causing headaches, including poor sleep hygiene or anxiety and depression. “Sometimes we use cognitive behavioral therapy to focus on treating the underlying issues,” she says.