If you suffer from headaches, you know how debilitating they can be. Depending on their severity, headaches can add constant low levels of pain to your life or completely knock out your ability to function normally.
Headaches come and go, and they can be challenging to treat because they have many possible causes. Unfortunately, taking medications to dull your pain won’t do anything to solve the root issue.
Here are five unexpected causes of headaches to help you find and treat the root of your pain.
A lack of fluids in your body can lead to a headache by causing your brain to contract away from your skull. Dehydration headaches can vary in intensity, from a slight buzz to a severe migraine.
Your body naturally loses fluids and electrolytes over the day, and you replenish them by eating and drinking enough liquids. Most adults need between 3 to 4 liters of water a day. For the average adult, about 20% of that liquid comes from liquid-rich foods.
If you’re experiencing headaches, dark urine, fatigue, and dryness in your mouth, you may be dehydrated. Some circumstances make it easier to become dehydrated than usual. These include being at a high altitude, experiencing hot temperatures, or being physically active.
Thankfully, treating dehydration is simple. Start by drinking several more glasses of water a day to get closer to the recommended amount. To help your body replenish electrolytes, you can also incorporate electrolyte-rich foods into your diet or drink a sports drink.
1. Eye Strain
Another leading cause of headaches in modern culture is eye strain. If you spend a lot of time looking at bright screens like your computer and phone, you may experience bad headaches as your eyes get tired and your neck cramps.
Usually, headaches caused by eye strain hurt right behind your eyes. If you cover your eyes to block the light, you might notice an immediate reduction in pain. There are a few things you can do to treat this kind of tension headache naturally.
First, try lying down in a dark room and covering your eyes to block all light. Set a timer for 30 minutes and rest until it goes off. In many cases, this will reduce or completely cure your headache.
If you feel overly hot, you can also try applying a cold cloth to your head and body to direct blood flow away from your brain. Cold therapy can help your brain to cool down and relax, helping to relieve tension.
Eye strain can also be caused by excessive crying or looking at bright screens after crying. Remember, your eyes are not machines you can use indefinitely. If they have been under stress, they need to rest to recover normal levels of functioning.
Many adverse health effects accompany depression, including fatigue, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and feelings of hopelessness. However, another possible symptom of high stress or depression is bad headaches.
Certain types of depression, like premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), are more likely to cause headaches. Women affected by this kind of depression usually only experience symptoms of depression right before their periods.
Other symptoms of PMDD can include anxiety attacks, extreme fatigue, mood swings, and feelings of overwhelm. PMDD may be caused by hormone imbalance and exacerbates typical symptoms associated with PMS.
To treat PMDD, you should start by improving your overall health with regular exercise and good nutrition. If symptoms persist, speak with a doctor about creating a treatment plan to identify and treat the root of your symptoms.
If you suspect you’re struggling with PMDD, be gentle with yourself. Prepare for your monthly experience with PMDD by talking to supportive friends and family and creating a plan to remind yourself that your feelings don’t describe reality and will change as your body recovers.
4. Autoimmune Diseases
While headaches can happen for many different reasons, sometimes they may signify that you have an autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune diseases are when your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks you instead of focusing on external threats. There are many different types of autoimmune diseases, including lupus, Crohn’s disease, Graves’ disease, and hypothyroidism.
Each kind of autoimmune disease affects different parts of your body and has unique symptoms. If you are struggling with abnormal, recurring symptoms of poor health, you should take some time to research those symptoms and then speak to a doctor.
Autoimmune diseases affect far more women than men and can lead to death in some instances if untreated. While these diseases can’t be cured, they can be managed with natural remedies and medications. Treatment varies depending on each patient.
5. Weather Changes
Weather changes are another surprising possible cause of headaches. At sea level, air molecules exert a pressure of about 14.7 pounds per square inch on everything they touch due to gravity. Most of the time, you aren’t affected by the air around you, as you are used to this pressure.
However, air pressure can change depending on location and weather conditions. Sudden changes in air pressure, also known as barometric pressure, can sometimes cause headaches and make people feel sick.
Unfortunately, you can’t control the weather. However, you can watch weather changes and check online migraine predictors so you know when an attack is coming. If weather-related headaches are frequent and extreme, you can also consider moving to a new area.
Keep a Clear Mind
Is one of these five unexpected causes behind your headaches? Identifying headache triggers is the first step toward healing, so you never have to experience bad headaches again.
To find your triggers, you should start by recording what your headaches are like and when they happen. Look for patterns and any other symptoms you may be experiencing, and then do some research and talk with your doctor.
With some time and effort, you may be able to find relief from headaches!