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headaches triggers travel

We’ve all had a headache in our lives, right?

Yes…we all know the uncomfortable feeling of dizziness, along with light or noise sensitivity, even nausea at times.

Awful paralysing sensations indeed.

And what makes it more interesting – and confusing – is the origin of a simple headache, which can vary widely and among unimagined possibilities: from a simple digestive virus, flu or even jet lag, all the way to a heart attack.

Scary stuff! But not to be confused. Just remember to use common sense: in cases where a headache persists despite taking correcting measures, it is always a good idea to get a proper check up by your doctor.

Stress as the main factor for it all.

Yes, we might be able to confirm that stress is the one reason provoking it all. The next list will show you that everything is seriously related to many kinds of stress…kinds that we all have in our daily lives. Keep reading to find out.

A simple headache is always preventable and reversible with a few easy steps.

I will focus here on the simple possibilities in order to help you cope with headaches whenever you are on the road. Because travel shouldn’t be stopped by preventable headaches.

1. Stay hydrated!

The #1 rule for almost everything in travel.

Drink water every day and on constant basis. Just imagined if you switched every soft drink you have during a week time and drank water instead…can you put that on numbers? I dare you to grab a blank paper and a pencil right now and do the math…

2. Get proper sleep

As in enough hours and good quality sleep. There are known rituals that we tend to avoid as modern human beings and this is just wrong. Stay connected until closing our eyes right before falling asleep for example. Or thinking that falling asleep at 3:00 am and waking up at 3:00 pm is as healthy as sleeping at 9:00 pm and waking up at 6:00 am.

Sorry, I got news for you: no, it’s not the same. The brain and the human body has a natural rhythm. One that can not be tricked no matter how many modern devices and tendencies there are. The body works in one and only way since its creation and that hasn’t changed in thousands of years of evolution.

Night is meant for sleep and reset, day is meant for being awake and aware of your surroundings.

So if you want to avoid and prevent some headaches when you travel, get some good sleep, get attached to time zones as soon as you land.

3. Keep a healthy digestive track

Constipation is a terrible thing that can be chronic to many of us, myself included. I have suffered with this for long and still am. Trying things from time to time and loosing my mind some other times. Simple exhausting.

Travel is no exception to this. So many different foods and food reactions within our bodies. Difficult to predict but taking care of your bowel activity is wise. And yes, all this relates to headaches. When constipation kicks in, toxins usually cleaned through the gut can get easily accumulated in the bloodstream, making some other mild disorders that will translate into dehydration and headache right away.

4. Avoid foods known as headache triggers

Here’s a small, basic but practical list on foods that could trigger a headache:

  • Red wine and certain alcoholic beverages
  • Chocolate.
  • Nuts, peanuts.
  • Aged cheese: blue cheese, brie, cheddar, feta, parmesan, gorgonzola, just to mention a few.
  • Red meats.
  • Caffeine.
  • Aspartame and certain artificial sweeteners.
  • Food additives, such as found in sausages, ham, bacon, pepperoni.
  • Certain heart medications.

Headache Food Triggers

5. Avoid long periods of fasting.

Many things are constantly said about better diets and diet schedules. But the truth is that each body is different, and so are its requirements. It only takes for you to observe and know your body in order to know what triggers certain conditions and what causes good health to your body. There are certain common things, listing and advice for everyone. But after some point, it will only be a very individual and personal matter.

The point here is this: long periods without putting some food in your stomach will activate chemical chains and reactions in your body that will send information to your brain saying something like this:

Stomach says: “Hey you guys! Watch out, we are running out of supplies, you all gotta shut something down now. Tell your people.”

So the brain gets the message and starts taking action by sending orders to different organs all over the body.

Brain replies:

  • “Guys! We’re on alert mode for a little while until further notice! So here’s how it will go until then:
  • Stomach, before you get mad and acid, get water from the cells so we can slow down the madness.
  • Liver, no bile yet until fat comes in.
  • Pancreas, you cut the insulin into the bloodstream, sugar needs to be saved for the brain in the meantime.
  • Muscles, no sugar feed for working now. Use carbs and fats reserves.
  • No sugar to the bloodstream, everyone! This is the main rule now. GO!

This will make your stomach acid and aching. Nausea.

This will make your blood sugar lower down. Dizziness and cold sweating.

This will make your body’s water supplies to be saved for basic functions, which will make you dehydrated and thirsty, which will make your blood pressure go down. Fainting sensation.

All of this, all together, will make your head stressed, dry and tired.


Pain, dizziness, nausea…and BOOM! Headache.

Types of Headaches?

There are many kinds of headaches, but the common kind will always respond properly after taking some of these measures, depending on the situation.

The usual ones can be better explained according to their location.

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 11.48.00

When to go to the doctor?

More than 3 headache episodes per week during several weeks.

Sudden headache with other symptoms such as chest pain, excessive vomiting or diarrhoea.

Headaches with neurological symptoms such as numbness, walking difficulty or any motor disability on your hands or feet.

Headache and chest pain of any kind.


1. Water and proper hydration is the very first step to prevent, heal and fix almost any disorder within our body.

2. Second comes paying attention to your body’s particular needs. Get to know it. Listen to it.

3. And finally, always be guided by your common sense. If you feel like eating a hand full of almonds or a banana, then do it. Your body is asking for it.


Safe Travels!


For more information on headaches, check these links I researched for you:

Headaches by Survival Medicine

National Headache Foundation

Migraine & Headache Health Centre by WebMB

Headache Disorders by WHO

Headache Causes by Mayo Clinic


*Image Credits by Google Images*

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Dr. Mariana Calleja

Mariana Calleja is a doctor, writer and entrepreneur. Teaching people healthy habits that stick, and how to manage stress to live a better, healthier, calmer life. Pain management specialist, with a deep story of her own on learning how to heal a personal sexual pain, that would allow her embrace and live a true, meaningful life. (More on the blog.)

Mariana is an absolute advocate of communication, relationships, tackling taboos and digging inner fears for better living. Health is a whole. Mindset, awareness and communication are the key to a good, calm, healthy life.

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