The cause of headaches is one of those things that scientists and researchers have puzzled over for many years, and even now there is plenty of disagreement over just what it is.

What does seem clear is that around 90 percent of headaches are caused by tension of some sort. The rest are mostly migraine headaches, which, it sees, can be triggered by any one of a number of factors, or combination of factors, and to which some people are more susceptible than others owed to their genetic makeup.

Is tension the only cause of non-migraine headaches? Probably not, but it does seem that it is a major factor, and that if you can cut down or eliminate tension from your life then you will enjoy a dramatic reduction in the number of headaches you have to suffer.

Let's have a look at the major things that cause the body to tense up.

1. Stress

This is, unfortunately, a part of modern life, and nearly all of us have to deal with it regularly. It affects us all in different ways, but the most common form of avoidable stress that causes headaches is probably noise, followed closely by bright lights.

If you have to suffer excessive noise in your job, or at home from neighbors, for example, and you can not get away from it, one answer is simply to make use of ear plugs or mufflers and keep the noise out that way.

Ear plugs are regularly used by people living in the center of towns and cities where traffic noise lasts into the early hours, so they can sleep at night. Bright lights can be in many cases through the use of “wrap-around” dark glasses and avoiding, where possible, places where such lights are to be found, eg night clubs, swimming pools, and anywhere with fluorescent lighting.

2. Diet

Too much caffeine causes cause headaches. Although strong coffee is popular thought to help against such afflictions, it often does the opposite.

Foods like mustard, salt and processed foods such as Chinese take away meals, hot dogs and other fast food are all a major source of headaches, probably on account of the excess monosodium glutamate they contain and which our bodies often find difficult to absorb.

3. Alcohol

Although often mistaken for a “hangover”, the after-effect of drinking alcohol is often a headache. This is why many people suffer what they think is a hangover after consuming only a modest amount of alcohol.

If this applies to you then it may be that your alcohol tolerance level is low, in which case you'll just have to accept it or suffer the headaches it leads. One way, though, to overcome your headaches is to eat a few slices of cucumber before you go to bed. This will help you wake up later feeling refreshed and rested.

If any of these things is the real cause of your headaches then you now know what you have to do to reduce or even eliminate them altogether.