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7 Surprising Things Giving You a Headache

Dr. Sunil Vaswani    16-08-2016 Consult

The pressure. The pounding. The pain. You know the symptoms. You've got a headache. What you might not know are some of the surprising causes for your headache. While there are many different types of headaches, such as cluster, sinus, migraine and chronic, the most common is a tension headache. The pain is usually mild to moderate, steady and can feel like a band of pressure squeezing around your head. Stress, anxiety and depression can all lead to tension headaches, but so can a surprising number of other triggers. Are any of these sneaky culprits causing your headaches?

AN INCORRECT EYEGLASS PRESCRIPTION

Wear contacts or glasses? If your prescription is too strong, it may cause your eyes to strain and give you a headache.This overcorrection can happen during the refraction test where your optometrist shows you two letters and asks you if option one or two is better.

A TOO-TIGHT PONYTAIL

Always wearing an updo at your job or during your workout? You may find that your hair clips or too-tight ponytail can lead to a headache. When the hair is pulled taut, it puts constant pressure on the connective tissue in the scalp until you take your hair down. The same pain can also occur with a tight headband, headphones or braids. Try loosening your braid or ponytail or limiting your use of these hairstyles.

AN OVERLOADED BAG

Any activity that causes your head to be in the same position for a long time can cause a tension headache. A culprit you might miss? Your overloaded purse or backpack. When we don't practice good posture, the imbalances created in the muscles cause pain, dysfunction and altered mechanics that eventually lead to injury. Try limiting how much weight you carry in your bag and regularly switching carry shoulders.

YOUR HEADACHE MEDICATION

Ready for some painful irony? If you're regularly popping pills to deal with your headaches, you could be causing yourself more head pain. These headaches are often felt in the morning and can occur with regular use of a wide range of over-the-counter medications. We usually advise stopping the medication if the rebound headache occurs, but this can create withdrawal symptoms for up to a week. Finding the right balance of medication can stop this problem.

JAW CLENCHING

If you regularly wake up with a morning headache, jaw clenching (bruxism) might be to blame. While it can also happen during the day, many people who grind or clench at night are not aware that they do it. What we don't realize is that when we actually get a chance to wind down, relax and, more importantly, sleep, our brains are often working overtime and subconsciously do not stop. Addressing the clenching with a mouth guard and a better wind-down routine at night can help reduce the grinding and ensuing headaches.

SLEEP APNEA

Sleep apnea is characterized by loud, chronic snoring, often with pauses, choking or gasping. Another symptom? Headaches. Sleep apnea is a common cause of headaches that often goes unnoticed. Those that suffer from frequent headaches and snoring should consider meeting with a sleep specialist to be properly evaluated.

DEHYDRATION

One of the easiest ways to get a headache is from dehydration. Since the brain is composed of nearly 75-percent water, its functions depend on being hydrated. Among other problems, if you haven't consumed enough water you can experience headaches. Dehydration can also be caused by consuming too much alcohol or consuming too much salt. Make drinking water during the day a priority, and if you feel a headache coming on, start with a glass of water before reaching for pain medication.

 

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