We take vacations to get away from it all — the house, the job, and all the other parts of the daily grind, including the daily headache many of us suffer from. But what can you do if headaches are as bad or worse on our vacation? Here are some things to try.

Try to Get Back on Routine

If you were getting headaches before because you were getting too little sleep, you may now be getting them because you are getting too much sleep. Maybe you’ve just changed your schedule too radically and your body is struggling to keep up.

Or if you normally spend your day sitting at your desk, suddenly getting out in the sun and being very active can lead to headaches.

It’s best to transition gradually to your vacation schedule if you can, or if your vacation is too short (aren’t they all?) just keep closer to your normal schedule.

Is Your Diet Changing Too Much?

You might have also radically switched up your diet, which can also lead to headaches. Many of us need caffeine to get up for work each morning, but when it comes to vacation time, we bound excitedly out of bed. Unfortunately, if you’re suddenly getting less caffeine, you may get a headache. Or maybe the coffee at the inn where you’re staying is so much better than the free stuff in the office coffeemaker, and you decide to have a second (or third) cup. Too much caffeine can lead to headaches, too!

And for the 70% of Americans who aren’t teetotallers, vacation usually means more drinking, and that can lead to headaches. You can also cause yourself headaches if you change the type of alcohol you’re drinking, such as from wine to beer and/or liquor.

Plus, it’s easier to get dehydrated in summer and on vacation. You’re being more active. You’re out in the sun. You’re distracted. You just forget to drink enough water, and the result is a headache.

Finding the Real Cause of Your Headaches

Of course, many of us find out on vacation that the true cause of our “stress headaches” was never really stress. Stress may play a role, but the real cause can be something else — something not affected by work or vacation at all.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is a common cause of headaches that is overlooked or misdiagnosed. If you find that you’re clenching your jaws even when you’re at your most relaxed, it’s likely that TMJ is to blame.

If you would like to learn whether TMJ is the real reason headaches ruin your vacation, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a Columbia, SC TMJ dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.