Top Causes of Headaches

Top Causes of Headaches

Headaches are a very common occurrence. Almost all people will experience a headache at least once in their lives. Headaches can range from dull and constant to sharp and shooting pain. Some people get headaches so bad they end up missing work or social functions. Headache pain can be caused by a variety of different things and understanding these causes can help people to lessen the number of days they suffer from headaches in the future. While not all headaches are avoidable, there are some steps people can take to prevent certain kinds of headaches from occurring. Below are some of the top causes of headaches.


           Stress is one of the most common causes of headaches. People who are constantly stressed out may suffer from higher blood pressure. When the body senses stress, it goes into the fight or flight response which causes vascular changes in the body. This can lead to too much pressure in the brain which presents as a headache. Managing stress, whether, through meditation, exercise, or any other method can greatly help reduce the number of headache days you experience. 


Lack of Sleep

           Lack of sleep is a major cause of headaches. This is especially true in the United States where everyone is always on the go. Lack of sleep increases the production of proteins in the body that cause chronic pain. These proteins reduce the body’s threshold for pain and can thus spark migraines.



           If you haven’t eaten in a while and are very hungry, your blood sugar levels are likely low. Once this happens, your body releases hormones to tell your brain it is hungry. These hormones can lead to vasoconstriction which brings about high blood pressure. This in turn can lead to headaches. 


Caffeine Withdrawal

           Caffeine is technically a drug because it alters your body. When a person uses caffeine for a prolonged period, their body becomes dependent on the chemical to function properly. When the caffeine abruptly stops, the body begins to go into withdrawal which it interprets as stress. As explained earlier, stress causes changes in the body that can lead to headaches.



           Many people suffer from allergies with one of the worst side effects being painful headaches. When the sinuses are swollen and blocked up, drainage and airflow are obstructed. This can lead to a buildup of pressure and thus, a headache.


           Alcohol is a diuretic which means it makes your body lose water. Oftentimes, when people drink alcohol, they are not drinking enough water. This causes the body to become dehydrated. Loss of fluids and severe dehydration can lead to headaches in the body.


Changes in Hormone Levels

           Changes in hormone levels are a normal cause of headaches. Migraines, particularly in females, are linked to monthly hormonal changes. Estrogen controls chemicals in the brain that are linked to pain. As estrogen changes occur, these chemicals are activated and lead to extreme pain in the head.


Environmental Factors

           Environmental factors are another cause of headaches. Whether you are experiencing second-hand smoke, a strong perfume smell, or an excess of pollen, environmental factors can play a major role in whether or not you experience headaches.

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