Physical Health

What causes headaches

A man experiencing headache

What causes headaches? The answer to this question could be as simple as just getting enough sleep, or it could be something more serious like an underlying brain tumor. Fortunately, most of the time you can treat your headache at home by figuring out what’s causing it and taking care of the issue, whether that’s drinking more water, using cold compresses, or going to bed early. In other cases, you may need to see a doctor who can help figure out what’s causing your headaches and how to prevent them from coming back in the future.

Headaches are the second most common reason people seek medical care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (source). While you’re probably familiar with tension headaches, it can be difficult to diagnose the cause of your particular headache based on its symptoms alone. Often, there are multiple factors that contribute to headaches or other types of severe pain. This guide will help you understand what causes headaches and migraines so you can start working toward the prevention of future attacks.

A headache can be caused by many different things. It’s important to figure out what exactly causes your headaches, so you can treat them effectively and prevent them from occurring in the future. These are the most common causes of headaches and migraines

This article discusses the different causes of headaches, along with ways to prevent headaches and migraines from occurring in the first place. You will also find some helpful tips on what to do if you feel a headache coming on, or if you already have one and want to make it go away fast. If you are suffering from frequent headaches, this article may be able to help you get to the bottom of your problem so that you can start getting the relief you need!

1. Stress

It’s no surprise that stress is one of the causes of headaches—after all, headaches are often nothing more than a symptom of our hectic lifestyles. When we can’t keep up with work and home commitments, manage stress levels, or get adequate restful sleep, symptoms like headaches become more common. In fact, research has shown that people who experience frequent migraines tend to have higher stress levels in their lives than those who don’t!

Many people find that they have a particularly bad headache after being under stress. This may be because stress triggers higher than normal levels of serotonin in your brain. For some people, high levels of serotonin can be causes headaches and migraines. Your best bet is to get enough sleep and exercise, as both of these activities naturally reduce serotonin levels. That said if you’re prone to headaches or migraines when under stress, you may want to consider medication.

2. Genetics

Genes. Causes of headaches



Some people inherit a greater likelihood of headaches from their parents. Everyone has a unique set of genes, which we inherit from our parents. These genes can be part of the causes of Headaches.  If your mom or dad gets migraines, there’s an 80% chance you will, too. Men and women are about equally likely to experience chronic headaches. Migraines seem to run in families, and there may be a genetic component: More than half of migraine sufferers have a family member with similar symptoms.

If you have family members who suffer from headaches and migraines, talk to your doctor about genetic testing. Knowing whether you’re genetically predisposed to headaches can help doctors diagnose them faster and may allow you to take preventive steps like dietary changes or exercise regimens that could minimize symptoms later in life.

3. Improper diet

Improper diet. Causes of Headaches
Ready for junk food

Improper diets are other potential causes of headaches and migraines. You’ve likely heard that you should drink plenty of water every day, but what many people don’t realize is that dehydration can be a significant contributing factor to chronic pain, including headaches. Dehydration causes blood vessels to constrict, which affects blood flow and can increase pressure in your head. Chronic dehydration also may be associated with an increased risk of kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and other conditions that aggravate headache symptoms.

It’s also important to eliminate foods that cause headaches and migraines. If you are currently suffering from a headache or migraine, try to recall what you ate before you became ill. As with most things health-related, diet plays a big role in determining whether or not we will get headaches or migraines. So make sure your diet is healthy and that you avoid these common triggers.

4. Not drinking enough water

Shot of a woman drinking a glass of water at home

Dehydration can lead to headaches and migraines, among other health issues. Because dehydration causes your blood vessels to constrict, your brain experiences less blood flow than it should. Dehydration also causes muscle tension, which is a big cause of headaches in general. Your body responds by sending pain signals to your brain—and since you’re already dehydrated (which tightens all your muscles), that can lead to an uncomfortable headache or migraine.

When we’re dehydrated, our bodies produce chemicals that cause headaches. To avoid headaches and migraines, always drink enough water throughout your day. Our experts recommend 8–10 glasses of water per day for most adults. The color of your urine can be a good indicator of how well hydrated you are.

5. Imbalances in the body are also causes of headaches

Sometimes what causes headaches are imbalances in the body, most notably blood flow problems or water-retention issues. The best way to correct these issues is to consume a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, drink lots of water and get plenty of exercises.

There are a number of things that can be causes of headaches and migraines, including food allergies, hormonal imbalances, poor diet, and dehydration. While conventional medicine often focuses on treating headaches with pain medications, or over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, not all of these factors can be treated with over-the-counter drugs.

6. Medications

Many medications such as antidepressants, aspirin, ibuprofen, and blood pressure medicine are causes of headaches. If you’re in doubt about whether or not your medication is causing your headaches, talk to your doctor. Migraines can also be triggered by stress and changes in sleep patterns, so keeping a diary of what might have caused your headache—and trying to avoid it in the future—can help you get to the bottom of things.

Different medications can be causes headaches, especially when combined with other drugs or alcohol. Certain over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Tylenol, can cause headaches and migraines. Prescription painkillers for issues like arthritis and cancer are also notorious for causing painful side effects. If you’re experiencing constant headaches that aren’t helped by medication, it’s important to see a doctor get things sorted out before they become a more serious issue.

7. Some foods like chocolate are Causes of headaches in some people.

Girl is eating chocolate. Causes of headaches
Girl is eating chocolate. Causes of headaches

If you experience headaches, it is a good idea to avoid some foods. If you can see a pattern between what you eat and when your headaches occur, try tracking how often these foods are consumed and consider cutting them out of your diet for two weeks to see if there’s an improvement. It’s also important to make sure you have enough water in your diet; dehydration can cause headaches too.

Chocolate contains tyramine, which can cause headaches or migraines in people who are sensitive to it. Chocolate can also contain other chemicals that might trigger headaches. It’s important to note that only certain people are sensitive to tyramine and that many other foods also contain tyramine, but don’t typically cause headaches. If you do have a sensitivity to tyramine, avoid foods with large amounts of chocolate, red wine, or beer—these all contain large amounts of tyramine

8. Menstrual cycle is one of the causes of headaches

menstrual cycle. Causes of headaches
menstrual cycle. Causes of headaches

The most common cause of headaches or migraines is your menstrual cycle. Some women find that headaches or migraines tend to occur during certain phases of their menstrual cycle when hormone levels are fluctuating. Because hormones are a factor in headaches and migraines for many women, checking your cycles may be one way to determine if you’re likely to suffer from pain during certain points of your cycle.

In particular, it’s your estrogen levels that can either intensify a headache or trigger it in menopause. Also, if you start to feel sick during your period and notice changes in vision, then we recommend you see your doctor as soon as possible.

9. Lack of sleep

Lack of enough sleep. Causes of headaches
Lack of enough sleep

Not getting enough sleep can cause headaches, so make sure you’re trying to get at least seven hours of shuteye every night. For most people, quality is more important than quantity—the best way to get better sleep is to create a routine and stick with it every night.

When you have a headache or migraine, lack of sleep is often to blame. Even if you think your headaches are triggered by something else—like stress or physical strain—exhaustion can be what triggers a throbbing pain in your head. Sleep deprivation causes hormonal changes and stress in your body, which can trigger headaches and migraines. But keep in mind that it’s not always exhaustion that causes headaches; environmental factors like glare from computers and fluorescent lights can trigger them as well.



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