What causes headaches? Well, lots of things can cause headaches. You're smart to wonder what causes them because when you figure out the cause, you can most likely fix the problem effectively, and probably for a long time.
The common causes of headaches are stress, hangover, caffeine or caffeine withdrawal, and lack of sleep. Other common causes are teeth grinding, TMJ or jaw joint dysfunction, sinus and respiratory infections, food or medicinal allergies, upper neck subluxation (a chiropractic problem), toxic smells, loud noises, trauma to the head, irritation of nerves and blood vessels, and brain tumors. Did I mention stress? It's the biggest one. A rare culprit in what causes headaches is the use of ntroglycerin cream on a wound or sore. When it gets into the bloodstream, it dilates blood vessels, making the heart pump faster. This can cause a throbbing headache in just minutes after applying the cream.
Physical and mental stress cause our body to put a hormone called cortisol into our blood, and cortisol raises blood sugar which can irritate blood vessels and cause us to store fat. Stress also increases the activity of our sympathetic nervous system, which gives us the "fight or flight" response. Our muscles tighten (especially around the neck and shoulders), blood vessels constrict, lung airways dilate, and blood pressure goes up, which can exacerbate or cause headaches.
Tension headache is one type of headache that comes from stress. Living at a fast pace with plenty of responsibilities can stress us out and cause headache, especially if we're cutting our sleep short and drinking caffeine. Typical headache remedies then would be reducing stress or managing it better, sleeping better or longer, and quitting caffeine. How to stop a headache may be as simple as lowering stress, exercising and getting enough good sleep. Some tension headaches happen almost daily, which is called chronic tension headache. Drinking alcohol and its subsequent hangover can bring a terrible headache. You know how to fix that. Quitting coffee or energy drinks usually causes painful, throbbing headaches for a day or two. It may take some Aleve, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, or Tylenol to get you through the temporary pain. But after that, you should be on your way, caffeine free.
Getting quality and the right quantity of sleep is a huge problem in modern society. Some studies show that the highest quality of sleep occurs before midnight, so it's smart to train yourself to getting to bed well before midnight. If you have trouble falling asleep, you might try melatonin, exercise, and winding down with a book or TV. If your mind races, while in bed, with life's worries and things to do, you might try writing the worries down on a notepad near your bed. Now, you have at least listed and addressed them and you can think to yourself, "I'll take care of those things tomorrow. I'll worry about them tomorrow. They're not going anywhere; I've written them down, and now I can sleep."
The TMJ headache is fairly common. It's when your headache occurs along with or associated with jaw joint pain which is actually caused by teeth grinding or clenching teeth. There are good night guards (the SmartGuard is best) to help with that. Getting the upper neck adjusted by a chiropractor may also help to prevent and stop headaches. Sometimes spending hours in a room that has just gotten new carpet or paint can cause a headache. Breathing in those chemicals can irritate the nerves and blood vessels of the brain. It's another answer to what causes headaches.
A hit to the head may cause a headache, and you should get examined after head trauma. Time to heal is usually the best remedy. Migraine headache is quite common and often means seeing a migraine specialist. Experts believe that migraines are caused when blood vessels of brain dilate, putting pressure on nerves that surround the vessels.
If you've looked at all the usual causes, and nothing makes
sense, then you might want to get a scan of your brain for a tumor.
Hopefully, it's not that! So, what causes headaches is a big question,
one that requires some careful thinking and honesty about your stress,
eating, sleeping, and drinking habits and possibly getting checked by a
chiropractor for upper neck dysfunction or finding out if you grind your
teeth while sleeping.