Smoking and second-hand smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes can contribute to headaches for both the smoker and the non-smoker. Nicotine, one of the components of tobacco, stimulates the blood vessels in the brain to constrict (narrow). Smoking also stimulates the nerves in the back of the throat, contributing to headache pain.
Usually, by removing the stimulus (nicotine), headaches will be relieved. Quitting smoking or reducing exposure to second-hand smoke is especially helpful for those with cluster headaches. In one study of people with cluster headaches, those who reduced their tobacco use by less than one-half pack of cigarettes per day found their headaches decreased by 50%.
If you're a mom or dad who has migraines, you may worry about the impact your headaches could have on your family. Migraines can develop at the most inconvenient times, making it harder to juggle your parenting responsibilities.
"When you're in the midst of a migraine, it can be difficult to function and take care of your kids," says Audrey Halpern, MD, a clinical assistant professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine. "Both the pain and the associated symptoms like nausea,...