This Is What Your Headache Means

By Emily 5 months ago

1. Dehydration

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Dehydration headaches happen when you simply don't have enough water in your body. These aches make you feel thirsty and give you a dry mouth, as well as a dull throb in your head. They can also make you feel tired and dizzy. To get rid of a dehydration headache, drink lots of water and stay hydrated, simple!

2. Stressed out?

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Stress and tension headaches are caused by muscles in your head, neck, and scalp contracting because of stress or tension. Just think of the furrowed brow of that angry teacher you used to hate! They can feel like a constant pressure or a throbbing sensation, and can be triggered by stressful events or situations. To manage stress and tension headaches, try deep breathing, meditation, or exercise to reduce stress.

3. Sleep Deprived

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When you don't get enough sleep, your body gets tired and the muscles in your head and neck tense up, which can lead to a headache. These headaches can feel like a dull ache and can also make you feel tired and irritable - not a great look! To prevent sleep deprived headaches, get enough sleep on a regular basis and consider changing your pillow and this too could cause muscle tightness leading to a headache.

4. Eyestrain Pain

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Eyestrain headaches happen when you use your eyes too much (duh!), especially if you're reading, writing, or staring at a screen for a long time. They can make your eyes feel tired and give you a dull ache around your sockets, as well as blurry vision. To prevent this type of headache, take breaks from screens often and practice good eye hygiene (eye drops work wonders…!)

5. Hormonal Headache

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Hormonal changes, like those that happen during your period, can cause headaches (as if bleeding every month wasn’t enough to contend with!). These headaches can feel like a throbbing sensation and may be accompanied by other menstrual symptoms like cramping or breast tenderness. To manage hormonal headaches, try over-the-counter pain medication or natural remedies like applying heat or taking a warm bath.

6. ‘Hangry’ Headache

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Skipping meals or fasting can really mess with your head. When your body doesn't get enough fuel, it can cause a headache that feels like a dull ache. You might also feel dizzy or lightheaded. To avoid these types of headaches, make sure to eat regular, balanced meals and try not to go too long without eating. Also, be sure to keep up your sugar levels or you might come crashing down (literally) and that would definitely give you a sore head!

7. Booze-Induced

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You don’t need me to tell you that drinking too much alcohol can lead to a headache… The dehydration from drinking causes blood vessels in your brain to expand leading to a throbbing headache. It can also cause other hangover symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. To prevent these types of headaches, drink in moderation and make sure to stay hydrated by drinking water or other non-alcoholic beverages. Everything in moderation kids!

8. Caffeine Withdrawal

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If you're someone who relies on caffeine to get through the day (guilty!), going without it can give you a real headache. When your body becomes used to caffeine and then suddenly stops getting it, it can cause a dull ache and make you feel tired and groggy. Try to limit your caffeine intake or gradually reduce your consumption instead of stopping suddenly - easier said than done, I know.

9. Noise Headache

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Do you have a neighbor from hell who keeps you up until 3am with loud music? I bet that gives you a headache! As well as making you feel stressed, loud noises can give you a headache because they cause your muscles in your head and neck to tense up. These types of headaches feel like a dull ache and can also be accompanied by ringing in your ears, ouch! To prevent noise-induced headaches, try to limit your exposure to loud noises or wear earplugs or headphones to protect your ears. Or, ideally, get new neighbors!

10. Smelly Headache

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Strong smells can give you a headache because they overload your brain with sensory information. Our brains are amazing things but if they are given too much to process at once we can feel overwhelmed. Alone time in a quiet room anyone? These types of headaches feel like a dull ache and can also be accompanied by dizziness or nausea. To prevent smell-induced headaches, try to avoid strong smells or use a scented candle or essential oils to have one dominant smell.

11. Poor Posture

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Stop reading for a minute and think about how you’re sat. Is your back a nice straight line or are you hunched over? Don’t even get me started if you’re lying down! Poor posture can lead to headaches because it puts extra strain on your muscles, especially in your head and neck. So, if you're prone to poor posture headaches, it might be a good idea to pay attention to your posture and try to sit or stand up straight - yes boss!

12. Sinus Headache

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I don’t know about you but pollen season is the absolute worst. Surprise, surprise, sinus problems and allergies can also cause headaches! When your sinuses become inflamed, it can lead to pressure building up in your head, which feels like a throbbing. These types of headaches might be accompanied by other symptoms, like a runny nose or congestion. I. feel. your. pain.

13. Hypertension

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High blood pressure can also cause headaches. It’s another case of the blood vessels becoming constricted >> throbbing pain. These types of headaches might be accompanied by other symptoms, like dizziness or blurred vision. If you're prone to hypertension headaches, it might be a good idea to talk to a doctor about ways to manage your blood pressure as those symptoms ain't pretty.

14. Screen-Induced

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Go on, what’s your screen time? I clocked in a whopping 18h in lockdown, what was I thinking!? Spending too much time in front of screens can definitely give you a headache. When you stare at a screen for too long, your eyes can get strained and your muscles in your head and neck can become tense. Simple solution - ditch the screen and go for a walk.

15. Altitude Headaches

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If you’ve ever traveled by plane then you may have experienced the bizarre popping in your ears. This is cause by a change in altitude. Essentially, the air you are sitting in has a new pressure. This sudden adjustment can wreak havoc with your ever-sensitive body and a headache might be the result. The joys of travel!

16. Nutrient Deficiency

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Certain nutrient deficiencies can also cause headaches. If your body is low on essential nutrients like magnesium or iron, it can lead to a dull ache in your head. These types of headaches might be accompanied by other symptoms, like fatigue or weakness. Like hypertension, if you are experiencing these symptoms, a chat with a doctor is recommended - a few vitamins later and you could be feeling 100X better.

17. Exercise (yes really!)

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I’m remembering this one for the next time I need an excuse not to hit the gym! Sure, exercise is generally good for you, but it can also cause headaches if you overexert yourself. When you push your body too hard, it can lead to strain on your muscles, especially in your head and neck. We’ve all felt the burn of overused muscles a few days after an overzealous exercise routine! Listen to your body and take it easy if you need to.

18. The Weather

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This one is hard to believe but amazingly, it’s true. Changes in weather or altitude can cause headaches! That’s one reason why back in the day people had pressure gauge weather clocks, in fact you can buy modern versions of these now. The next time you see the grey clouds rolling in, get a glass of water down you as a headache might be on the horizon.

19. Smoker's Headache

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Smoking or being around secondhand smoke can definitely give you a metaphorical headache, it’s gross. Sadly, it can cause literal ones too. When you inhale smoke, it can expose your body to harmful chemicals. As your body goes into overdrive trying to rid these from your system, your poor brain is left tired and achy. There really are no benefits to smoking.

20. Genetics

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The sad truth is that some people are just more prone to headaches due to their genetics. If you have a family history of headaches, you might be more likely to experience them yourself. These types of headaches can vary in severity and frequency, and they might be accompanied by other symptoms depending on the specific type of headache. Migraine anyone?

21. Sickness-Related

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Certain infections or illnesses can also cause headaches. I’m sure you’re familiar with the bunged up feeling of a nasty head cold. Headaches like these are essentially just a ton of pressure behind the eyes and lower forehead. Luckily, as the illness passes so too will that pounding headache.

22. TMJ Headache

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Have you ever had a clicking at the side of your jaw? If so, you may well have Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.  When your TMJ becomes inflamed or misaligned, it can lead to a dull ache in your head, along with the famous click. If you’re suffering with jaw pain or having difficulty swallowing it might be a good idea to talk to a doctor or dentist.

23. Orthostatic Headache

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Ever stood up too fast and felt as though you were going to faint? The fancy name for this is orthostatic hypotension (or a sudden drop in blood pressure upon standing up). When your blood pressure drops, it can lead to a throbbing sensation in your head aka a headache!

24. Teeth grinding

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Grinding or clenching your teeth, also known as bruxism, can, unsurprisingly, cause headaches. As the tension in your jaw and facial muscles, builds up a nasty headache might follow. The weird thing with bruxism is that people often do it at night without realizing it. Why not set up your phone to record yourself overnight to see if you suffer from this rabbit-like phenomenon!

25. Thyroid Headache

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Thyroid problems can also cause headaches. The thyroid is a gland located in your neck which makes it strange to think it can lead to head pain but because of the role it plays in producing hormones, when it's not functioning properly, it can lead to a variety of symptoms, including headaches.

26. Carbon Monoxide Headache

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This is your reminder to check your CO2 alarms…! Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause a headache (and at its worst, death). Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be produced by things like gas stoves and car exhausts - which is why we need alarms to detect it. Aside from a headache, exposure to CO2 gas can make you feel sick, no thanks.

27. Brain tumor

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There are many serious medical conditions that can cause headaches. Some examples might include brain tumors. The type of headache associated with a brain tumor will vary in intensity and location depending on the stage and seriousness of the tumor. If you're experiencing severe or unusual headaches, it’s most likely something as simple as dehydration but if it persists it's important to talk to a doctor as these types of headaches could be a sign of a serious medical condition.

28. Sunburn Headache

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We all get a bit over excited when the sun comes out, don’t we? When you get a sunburn, your skin becomes inflamed, and this inflammation can lead to a headache. Add to this the fact that you will most likely be dehydrated if out in the sun for too long and it’s easy to see how easily the sun can cause your head to throb.

29. Wonky Glasses

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Harry Potter fans, this one's for you! Wearing eyewear that doesn't fit properly can also cause headaches… When your eyewear is too tight or too loose, it can put extra strain on your eyes and facial muscles leading to a dull ache around the bridge of the nose and around the eyes and ears.

30. Medication-Induced

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Certain medications can also cause headaches as a side effect. This can be especially common with medications that affect your blood pressure or hormones. Of course, if you have been prescribed some meds then the chances are the headache is a minor irritant compared to what you have been suffering with before. If the headache is really bad though (for example some contraceptive pills can cause rubbish headaches) then a new approach to managing your condition might be best.

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