Headache is the most common nervous system disorder. More than half of the total US adult population experience headache at least once a year. When a headache strikes, all that one wishes is to have it stop. That aching and pain can make you miss appointments, time with family and friends, and work.
It is not just nasty colds and stress that can cause a headache. There are so many other causes. Knowing all the potential causes of headaches can help you reduce their frequency. Here are some of the things that can cause a headache:
1. Your cell phone
Our lifestyle is changing. People are now spending a tremendous amount of time looking at YouTube videos, TikTok, and meme reviews. The reality is that we are straining our eyes for long periods of time. Some people also position cell phones way too close to their eyes. That puts a tremendous strain on the eyes and forces them to accommodate.
Reducing your screen time and putting your phone a little further away from your eyes can prevent headaches.
2. Caffeine withdrawal
People who have been taking caffeine for a long time develop withdrawal effects like headaches, irritability, and fogginess when they abruptly stop taking it. When you ingest caffeine, it narrows your blood vessels within your brain. When you quit caffeine, the blood vessels widen, leading to withdrawal symptoms. If you want to stop cold turkey, you should be prepared to experience symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. Your doctor can recommend some medications to relieve these symptoms.
3. Poor sleep
An average human being spends one-third of their lifetime asleep. How much and how much you sleep determines how you will feel the next morning. Sleeping for less than eight hours a day can affect your performance and trigger headaches. Lack of quality sleep can also cause headaches and neck pain.
A wrong pillow can cause morning headaches and neck pain. The best type of pillow to use depends on your sleeping style. If you sleep on your back, avoid using a very supportive pillow. It can prevent your spine from getting in a neutral position. If you are a side sleeper, you need an extra layer to support your head and keep your spine in a neutral position.
Your mattress also plays a role. If it is too soft, you will sink in and lose your spinal alignment. If it is too firm, you will wake up to neck and shoulder pain. A perfect mattress is one that is not too soft or too firm.
Cheese is among the foods that can trigger headaches. An aged-type like cheddar, Parmesan, Brie, and Swiss is high in tyramine. It is a natural compound that can cause vasoconstriction of the blood vessels in your brain. Blood vessel constriction doesn’t cause a headache. Migraine occurs when these blood vessels start swelling. The best way to prevent this is to avoid products that contain tyramine.
4. Grinding teeth
Excessive teeth grinding (bruxism) can cause a headache. Some people grind their teeth when they are asleep. That can cause a sleep movement disorder which can cause a problem in the temporomandibular (TMJ) area. A problem in the TMJ area is painful and can cause a headache.
If you have mild bruxism, you should talk to your dentist about the problem. Your dentist will help you know whether you are clenching your teeth at night when you are asleep. If yes, he might recommend a protective tray that can help decrease damages to the TMJ area.
Some of the medications that you are taking to manage pain can cause a headache. Painkillers are good when you take painkillers sporadically. Excessive use of painkillers like acetaminophen and aspirin can cause medication overuse headaches. If you are not feeling okay, talk to your doctor. Rushing to take over-the-counter medications without a prescription is less likely to treat the problem and is more likely to cause headaches or other side effects.
Goggles, headphones, ponytails, headbands, caps, and hats can cause compression headaches. Tight things across your scalp put pressure on trigeminal nerves and occipital nerves. That will end up causing a headache. Avoiding things that put continuous pressure on your scalp or forehead can help prevent compression headaches.
7. Eye Glasses
Using wrong prescription eyeglasses can strain eye muscles and end up causing a headache. If you have just started using prescription glasses, you can also be experiencing headaches because your eyes are trying to adjust. Headache caused by new eyeglasses usually goes away within a few days.
The frames of your eyeglasses can be exerting pressure on your temples, nose, and the back of your ears. This pressure affects the nerves underneath the skin and can end up causing headaches. If you suspect that your eyeglasses are giving you a headache, you should talk to your optician as soon as possible.
Perfumes are pleasant, but some of them can headaches. Chemicals in some perfumes can cause dilation or swelling of the arteries inside your brain and cause headaches. Avoiding strong odor and perfumes can help prevent migraines.
When you are sad, the muscles at the back of the neck and scalp tense up and cause a tight band-like sensation around the head. Controlling yourself when you are feeling angry can prevent tension headaches. Next time when you start feeling angry, you should breathe deeply and slowly to control your anger. The best way to do this is by breathing in through the nose and breathing out through the mouth.
10. Poor posture
Poor sitting posture causes tension in the shoulders, upper back, and neck, which can trigger a headache. Sitting straight and supporting your lower back can help. Avoiding sitting in one position for too long can also help. You can also talk to an osteopath to identify and correct posture problems.