More people complain about headaches than any other medical ailment. This is no surprise as headaches are so common with around 4.5 million people experiencing at least one headache a month. Furthermore, a headache is an ailment that affects up to 77% of the global population, and around 50% of the population suffer from a headache at least once a year.
In many cases, a headache is not a major cause for concern; it can usually be alleviated quickly with pain-relieving drugs such as paracetamol. However, headaches are often a sign that something is not quite right with your body. The next time you have a headache, check these ten signs to see if they might be the cause of the headache so you can prevent the pain in the future.
10 Potential Headache Causes
Feeling stressed or anxious can lead to a headache. In fact, the more pressure you are under, the more headaches you are likely to suffer. For some, stress can manifest in a migraine, while others may have tension headaches across the forehead or chronic headaches. Chronic headaches will usually occur from long-term stress that is not managed. Tension headaches that are episodic will often be as a result of a particularly stressful event.
Even mild dehydration can lead to painful headaches and migraines. Mild dehydration can come from exercising too much, not drinking enough water and even crying. Remember that thirst is often one of the last signs of dehydration, so try to drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you exercise a lot, then replenish your body with electrolytes, and hopefully, the muscle cramps and headaches will go.
If there is a problem with your spine or posture, then this can result in headaches and migraines. The headaches where specific movements increase pain, or if the headache limits your head mobility may be as a result of a spinal issue. Usually, headaches caused by spine problems are felt at the back of the head or behind the eyes.
Lack of sleep and sleep deprivation can cause headaches and a loss in cognitive function. However, even just changing your sleep pattern or sleeping habits can cause headaches and make your body feel out of sync. Sticking to a regular sleep pattern is important for your mind and body. If you have a bad night's sleep, then you may find it manifests in a headache.
With many of us spending increasing time looking at screens, it is causing us to have more problems with our eye health. If you notice a pattern with your headaches, for example, during work days or after days where you have spent a long time in front of a screen, then it may be wise to make an appointment with an optician. You may find that your headaches are as a result of straining or squinting which may mean it is a problem with your eyesight.
6. Blood Pressure
High blood pressure causes hypertension which can then result in headaches. Usually, headaches as a result of hypertension will feel different to a typical headache. Furthermore, these headaches are often more challenging to treat, and you may find painkillers do not work. In this case, the best way to get rid of your headaches is to manage your high blood pressure.
Low blood sugar can cause headaches. If you have not eaten in a while, or your brain does not have enough glucose, it can cause a headache. On the other hand, consuming too much sugary food can also result in a headache or a migraine as well. It is important to eat healthily and balanced. To maintain stable blood sugar levels and therefore avoid headaches, try to have smaller and more regular meals throughout the day.
Headaches can be a side effect of a new medication or a change in your medication. Many different drugs may have a headache as a side effect. Blood pressure medication and stimulants can all result in headaches while birth control pills can also lead to headaches. If your headaches persist, check with your doctor about your medication and dosage to see if any changes can be made.
Alcohol can cause headaches and drinking too much alcohol can cause dehydration which, in turn, leads to further headaches. Typically, the amount of alcohol you drink without hydrating yourself will determine the severity of a headache. Try to alternate between alcoholic drinks and water. While you may not want to drink water when you have a hangover, it can help to hydrate you and may reduce a headache.
10. A Serious Condition
Headaches can be a sign of something more serious that is affecting your health. It is essential to keep a note of when your headaches began and their severity and if any linking factors can help to rule out some serious conditions. If your headaches are unexplained, then it is important to talk to your doctor and seek medical assistance.