There are many catalysts that can create the headache, and medical literature has complied a lengthy compendium of causes.
Culled from several sources, below is a summary of the most common triggers for migraine, cluster, rebound and tension headaches. Some of them you may be familiar with, but there is no shortage of surprising ones.
1. Beer 2. Red wine 3. Aged cheese 4. Soy 5. Smoked fish 6. Meats containing nitrates (bacon, hot dogs, salami, cured meats) 7. Processed foods 8. Fermented foods 9. Pickled foods 10. Marinated foods 11. Chocolate 12. Nuts 13. Dairy products 14. Aspartame 15. Skipping meals 16. Bright lights 17. Sun glare 18. Loud sounds 19. Pleasant scents, such as perfume 20. Unpleasant odors, such as paint thinner and secondhand smoke 21. Smoking 22. Hormonal changes in women before or during their periods, during pregnancy, or menopause 23. Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy 24. Jet lag 25. Changes in wake-sleep pattern 26. Not enough sleep 27. Too much sleep 28. Sleeping in a cold room 29. Sleeping with the neck in an abnormal position 30. Head and neck in an abnormal position while working (typing, microscope viewing, etc) 31. Intense physical exertion 32. Sexual activity 33. Change of weather or barometric pressure 34. High altitudes (hiking, air travel) 35. Heat (hot weather, hot baths) 36. Colds, the flu or a sinus infection 37. Jaw clenching or teeth grinding 38. Eye strain 39. Head injury 40. Stress 41. Depression 42. Anxiety 43. Overuse of common prescription or over-the-counter pain medication: Half of chronic migraines, and as many as 25 percent of all headaches, are actually “rebound” episodes triggered by the overuse of common pain medications.
Serious causes of headaches are rare, but sometimes headaches warn of a more severe disorder.