Health & Body

Understanding Headaches and Their Causes

Lucas Chilczuk

There's nothing more distracting than a throbbing head, especially when you're dancing. Headaches can happen to anyone at any time, and while they're often treatable with over-the-counter remedies and some rest, it's important to know their common causes. Dance Spirit spoke with Rosalind Gendreau, RN, BSN, and director of Health Services at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA, for tips on treating and preventing headaches before they prevent you from dancing.


Common Cause #1: Dehydration

If you start to feel a headache develop around the middle of rehearsal, check your water bottle to see how much (or how little) you've been drinking. "Dehydration headaches are very common," says Gendreau, and frequently occur during rigorous workouts when you don't replace the fluids you're sweating out.

Solution: Simply rehydrating your body can help relieve the headache. But don't overcompensate—
drinking too much water can cause cramping, especially if you start dancing immediately.

Common Cause #2: Erratic Eating Patterns

Headaches are often directly related to diet. If you didn't have enough time to eat a solid meal before an intense evening of rehearsal, your body is running on empty. "Your blood-glucose levels dip and spike as a result," Gendreau says. If the first thing you eat is something sugary, your body will use the sugars quickly, and you'll end up crashing.

Solution: Make sure to keep some healthy snacks—like almonds, string cheese, baby carrots and hummus, or a banana and peanut butter—handy, and drink lots of water.

Common Cause #3: Lack of Sleep

"The National Sleep Foundation recommends 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night for teenagers," Gendreau says. "In addition to causing headaches, sleep deprivation can cause mood swings, difficulty concentrating and decreased coordination."

Solution: "Make an effort to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day," Gendreau says. "1 to 2 hours before bedtime, limit your screen time so your brain can settle, and reach for a book, not your phone, if you're having trouble falling asleep."

Common Cause #4: Stress

Between school and dance, you've probably got a lot on your plate. But, according to Gendreau, "worrying about too many things at once can trigger a headache, especially in the temples. These are known as tension headaches."

Solution: Try to relax! "Take a walk, listen to music or meditate," Gendreau suggests.

Pro Tip: Migraines are a specific kind of severe headache that are often triggered by something external. They require a diagnosis and medical attention. If you experience one-sided headaches (meaning that the pressure is only on one side of your head) accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and noise, it's best to see a doctor.

Show Comments ()
Dance News
2018 graduate Meredith Santoro in a shot from the PURCHASE DANCE x SUPREME series (screenshot via @issadancelook on Instagram)

Our story begins on January 3, 2018, when an account called @issadancelook suddenly appeared on the Insta-horizon. Almost immediately, the page was chock-full of artsy shots of SUNY Purchase dancers in their quirkiest, most stylish classwear and rehearsalwear. Barely half a year later, the page has an intensely engaged base of followers, and even mainstream fashion has taken notice—but more on that in a minute.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

Lucky you! You get to spend a week full of dancing with amazing choreographers, teachers and dancers! As exhilarating as this is, you need to know how to get the most out of your camp experience in order to create those memories that last a lifetime.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Fashion
Photo by Erin Baiano

Throwback jazz duds that feel impossibly current? Groovy, baby.

Modeled by Amber Pickens and Carey Segal

Photography by Erin Baiano

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

Once competition season has ended, it can seem like forever until you're ready to compete again. Don't let the down time between competition seasons drag on. Dance conventions are an easy and fun way to learn new skills, meet inspiring choreographers, and stay involved in dance all year long. Showstopper's Dance Conventions offer dancers an experience you cannot get anywhere else. Here is why you cannot miss Showstopper Dance Conventions!

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Nathan Sayers

Few things are more beautiful than perfectly arched feet. While us normal humans are on a never-ending quest to make our biscuits look a little bit better, some dancers are just born with gorgeous bananas. Here are 9 artists—from big-name icons to up-and-coming talents—whose feet are all kinds of #goals.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
Screenshot via Vogue

Dancer and choreographer Sherrie Silver is living her best life. The 23 year old, who's most recent choreography was featured in Childish Gambino's controversial "This Is America" music video, continues to bring African dance to the forefront of pop culture with the help of Vogue magazine. Brooklyn is the perfect backdrop for this dancing queen as she breaks down five of her favorite Afro dance moves: the Gwara Gwara, the Hipjook, the Neza, the Snakula, and the Shaku Shaku.

Keep reading... Show less
Dear Katie
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I'm a lefty turner, and am more flexible on my left side than my right. My one-sidedness is especially noticeable because most people in my classes are stronger on the right side. How can I even myself out?

Camryn

Keep reading... Show less
Editors’ List: The Goods
Via @joandjax on Instagram

Summertime...and the dressing is eeeeeeeeeeasy. When you're heading straight from the dance studio to the pool or beach, you don't want to be messing around with complicated cover-ups. That's where these 5 MVPs of the romper room come in, bringing their breezy style to your pre-class, post-rehearsal, and everything-in-between looks. Oh, and three out of the five are on sale right now. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and romper-ound! (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

The Soline, by Wear Moi

Via wearmoi.us

This oversized cap sleeve romper with a half zip in the front features four-way stretch and extra-comfy wide leg openings. You can get it now on Wear Moi's US website for less than half of its original price.

Dance News
2018 graduate Meredith Santoro in a shot from the PURCHASE DANCE x SUPREME series (screenshot via @issadancelook on Instagram)

Our story begins on January 3, 2018, when an account called @issadancelook suddenly appeared on the Insta-horizon. Almost immediately, the page was chock-full of artsy shots of SUNY Purchase dancers in their quirkiest, most stylish classwear and rehearsalwear. Barely half a year later, the page has an intensely engaged base of followers, and even mainstream fashion has taken notice—but more on that in a minute.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Adam Rose/FOX

At the start of last night's episode of "So You Think You Can Dance," 41 dancers remained. An hour later, we had a Top 20. And then there was a BIG FAT TWIST. (We'll get to that.)

The 41 still-standing Academy dancers showed up at the Dolby Theater in L.A. ready to tackle three rounds: contemporary choreography with seven-time Emmy nominee and one-time "SYTYCD" contestant Travis Wall; an "epic group routine" with jazz choreographer and La La Land she-ro Mandy Moore; and a last-chance solo showdown. Here's what happened.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
The cast of All Styles (courtesy Shout Factory)

What do you get when dance all-stars like Fik-Shun Stegall, Heather Morris, and Christopher Scott join forces for a movie? That'd be All Styles, the new dance film that just might give Step Up a run for its money. And you can watch the trailer exclusively right here.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Quad Squad performing their routine on the "WOD" stage (screenshot via YouTube)

Last night's episode of "World of Dance" proves that there's literally an endless supply of talented dancers in this world. We're on week SEVEN of Qualifiers, and each week, we're continuously blown away by the competitors. Last night was no different, as eight more groups (all of whom deserved to advance) vied for a spot in the Duels.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
The cast of All Styles (courtesy Shout Factory)

What do you get when dance all-stars like Fik-Shun Stegall, Heather Morris, and Christopher Scott join forces for a movie? That'd be All Styles, the new dance film that just might give Step Up a run for its money. And you can watch the trailer exclusively right here.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
USC Kaufman Students in Class (courtesy Glorya Kaufman School of Dance At University of Southern California)

You can still dance at a high level while attending a school that has no dance department. Just ask these two recent grads—their post-college careers bloomed because they took charge of their dance education.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
"My comeback on 💯" (via YouTube)

We've always been impressed by Ciara's very legit dance skills. But for "Level Up," the first single she's released since 2015, the star decided to create a dance vid that is actually on another level.

How'd she do it? By recruiting choreographer extraordinaire Parris Goebel and her epic ReQuest Dance Crew. We knew "Level Up" was a banger from the second we first heard it, but by their powers combined, Ciara, Goebel, and the ReQuest dancers make it into an absolutely irresistible dance jam.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Photo by Sophie Elgort, courtesy Isabella Boylston

Last year, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston decided to bring world-renowned ballet to her hometown of Sun Valley, ID. The first three-day Ballet Sun Valley festival featured stars including Maria Kochetkova and Misty Copeland, performing solos, pas de deux, and a world premiere by Gemma Bond. Audiences raved so much that the festival will continue this year, July 17 and 18. The talent list has expanded: There'll be 25 dancers from companies including the Paris Opéra Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and New York City Ballet, and the festival will again offer a day of free dance classes for local students. Dance Spirit caught up with Boylston to get all the details—and to find out what starting a ballet festival is really like.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Giveaways