Headache Triggers: What Causes Them & How to Get Rid of Them

what causes headaches

Few things can ruin the day as quickly as a headache. A number of things can trigger a bad one, and triggering a bad headache is generally easier than curing it. Understanding headache triggers can help to not only reduce the pain but also the frequency. Here’s what you need to know.

Poor Posture and Spinal Misalignment

A new term has come out for all of you smartphone users and computer workers—iposture. Poor posture is becoming something of an epidemic throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and several other countries, according to the Daily Mail. People tend to slouch as they check their smartphones and mobile devices, creating significant tension throughout their backs and pushing their spines out of alignment. 

In addition to chronic back pain, the spinal misalignment often triggers severe headaches. Popping anti-inflammatory medications only treats the symptoms and will not provide long-term pain relief. In some cases, a single corrective visit to the chiropractic DR may be sufficient to help remedy the issues, but sometimes, more long-term treatments may be necessary. Fortunately, much of the damage is reversible.


Stress causes a number of problems, and it is one of the better known headache triggers. Most of the time, it develops through surges of adrenaline and blood rushing through your temples. As the stress continues and does not alleviate, the pressure grows. In some cases, it can even build into a full-throttled migraine. 

What makes this particular headache trigger even more frustrating is the fact that its reasons for developing are often so individual only you will know what actually brings it on. Prevention states that the key to handling this kind of headache trigger is to know your individual stress triggers and then find a way to eliminate or reduce the stress. Some common practices include the following:

  • Engaging in controlled breathing exercises
  • Squeezing stress balls
  • Taking a short walk
  • Stepping outside
  • Removing yourself from the situation
  • Playing a quick game of solitaire or mahjong

Most of the time, you should be able to reduce the triggers on your own. However, chronic stress can create a number of problems that may be cumulative in nature. If you find that you are unable to reduce the stress or the headaches, then you will want to consult with a medical professional to figure out a better solution.

Screen Glare

The average person spends more than eight hours a day working on or staring at a computer screen, according to the New York Times. This does not include time spent looking at smartphones, other mobile devices, or even television. Not surprisingly, screen glare is another top trigger for headaches. The headache comes about because of the strain from staring at the bright screen and not looking away. 

You can help to avoid this by taking regular breaks from your computer screen and refocusing your eyes. But if the headaches keep coming, then you will need to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor. You will probably need to invest in a pair of anti-reflective glasses or a similar product that helps prevent your eyes from being strained as you work on the computer.

Headaches quickly set a bad tone for the day, but by recognizing the most common headache triggers, you can start to remedy them. Pay attention to what’s causing your headaches; you may find that you have one of the top triggers or all three. Visiting a medical professional can help you get a more tailored remedy for your pain and also help prevent it from worsening over time.

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