Just over half of the world’s population experiences a headache a year. About 5% of people have frequent or chronic headaches.
These headaches are debilitating at times. They may force you to lay down in a dark room or miss work because you simply can’t function.
The pain of a headache can cause misery. It’s even worse if you have frequent headaches. When it comes to frequent headaches, doctors and patients tend to have more questions than answers.
What causes headaches? When should you see a doctor? What can you do to reduce the pain?
Fortunately, you’re in the right place to learn the answers to these questions. Keep reading to find out the common causes of frequent headaches and how to treat them.
The brain can shrink if there aren’t enough fluids in the body. It’s temporary, but the contraction pulls the brain away from the skull. That causes a headache.
These can be very mild or as painful as a migraine headache.
If you already have frequent headaches like migraines, dehydration can make them worse. You want to make sure that your body always stays hydrated, no matter what.
If you do have a dehydration headache, you’ll experience other symptoms of dehydration like dry mouth and dizziness.
Eat foods with a lot of water (zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon), suck on ice cubes, and drink water.
You may benefit from a sports drink to replace lost electrolytes.
A tension headache is the most common type of headache. It’s usually brought on by an increased amount of stress.
If you have a tension headache, you’re likely to experience a dull pain around your head. It sometimes feels like a tightness around your scalp.
Tension headaches are categorized as chronic or episodic. Episodic means that they occur every once in a while. Chronic tension headaches happen 15 days a month or more.
Stress causes your neck and shoulders to get tight and sore. The muscle tightness carries over to the muscles and nerves around your head. It causes enough tension to trigger a headache.
You might not have had a stressful day, but still experience a tension headache. That’s because there could be a buildup of stress rather than a very stressful moment.
You may have vision issues and not realize it. Your eyes get strained by staring at a small screen for too long, poor lighting, and you try to focus for too long.
What happens is that your eyes have to work harder to stay in focus. That causes the muscles behind the eyes to get overworked.
That exertion turns into a headache.
Sometimes, these factors aren’t just isolated issues.
A recent study showed that headaches became more common during the height of the pandemic. A survey by Everyday Health found that 28% of respondents had frequent migraines in 2020 and 2021.
There isn’t a single cause of this increase, but rather a perfect storm of events. Lockdowns forced us to spend more time in front of screens for work and social time.
It was difficult to exercise because gyms were closed. The stress of uncertainty increased exponentially for many people. People also drank more alcohol to cope with the stress and lack of social outlets.
All of these things conspired to make people vulnerable to migraine headaches.
Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol contribute to headaches because they cause dehydration.
For some people, a little bit of wine is enough to trigger a severe cluster headache or migraine. A cluster headache is when you feel a sharp and intense pain around one eye or one side of your head.
Doctors aren’t sure why a little alcohol can trigger a huge headache. It may be the alcohol itself or a chemical reaction from something in the drink.
Women suffer from chronic headaches more than men. This is mostly because of changes in estrogen levels during menstrual cycles.
Perimenopause and estrogen therapy are also known to cause migraine headaches in women.
Changes in Sleep
There’s a link between lack of sleep and headaches. Doctors don’t have an explanation for this, but they know that the link exists.
If you’re experiencing headaches, look at how much sleep you’re getting each night.
Have you ever heard someone talk about changes in the weather causing knee problems and headaches? It seems like a crazy old wives’ tale, but there’s something to it.
Changes in atmospheric pressure can affect the body in different ways. For some people, the change of seasons in the fall and spring can trigger frequent headaches.
Headache Solutions and Treatments
Now that you understand the common causes of frequent headaches, you’re probably wondering at what point you should be concerned about your health.
Have you had headaches for 15 days or more per month over the last three months? That qualifies as a chronic headache and you should see a doctor.
According to nationalheadacheinstitute.com, you should see a doctor if you get two or more headaches a week or take over-the-counter medications for headaches on most days.
It’s sometimes difficult to connect a headache with a trigger. It helps to keep a journal to document headaches.
Document what you did leading up to the onset of the headache. You could find that you ate something that you’re sensitive to or you didn’t drink enough water.
The Causes of Frequent Headaches
Living a normal life sometimes isn’t possible if you suffer from frequent headaches. This guide showed you the most common causes of chronic headaches.
You can start to understand them and reduce these triggers in your life. If you can’t find a solution that works, then see a doctor for help.
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