Uncommon Causes of Headaches

By Annette GallagherMarch 29, 2016No Comments

Most people are all too familiar with headaches. Whether you tend to get them when you’re stressed out, after you eat certain foods or if you drink too much caffeine, almost everybody knows how uncomfortable they can be.

While most headaches aren’t serious, there are some uncommon causes of headaches that you should keep an eye on. Keep reading to learn more about why you should have chronic headaches checked out, even if you can stand the pain when they come around. 

why do I have a headache


It seems obvious that anxiety might cause headaches, but most people don’t really know why. When you’re anxious, like the times when you’re fighting with a loved one, you’re going to take shorter breaths, supplying less oxygen to the brain because your blood vessels are constricted.

Stay anxious for too long and you’ll likely end up with a headache before you know it. Try to de-stress after work and limit stressful social interactions to keep these headaches at bay.

Screen Time

The average American spends at least a few hours per day looking at a screen. Many of us – especially those who work on a computer or need to check their phone every 10 minutes during work hours – spend more time than that.

Too much screen time can cause eye strain, which can then cause headaches. That blue light emitted by most electronics doesn’t do much for our sleep patterns, either.

Rest your eyes by looking away from a screen for at least two or three minutes every half hour. You’ll experience fewer headaches and you’ll probably find that a break from the screen actually makes you more productive when you get back to the task at hand.

Caffeine Withdrawal

Caffeine is an addiction for many people who work a 40-hour week. Sure, that addiction helps us get things done, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still an addiction.

The problem mostly comes on the weekend when people don’t drink the stuff all day long. That can lead to withdrawal headaches that are frustrating because you may not realize why you’re even getting them!

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Believe it or not, a variety of studies have shown a link between constipation and regular headaches. For the average person, this connection can obviously be quite difficult to make.

While it’s still a bit unclear as to why IBS might be cause headaches – even migraines in some people – the connection does seem to be very real. Some speculate that it has to do with general body inflammation and your body’s inability to deal with waste properly.

Over-the-counter IBS products might help, but seeing a doctor to treat a chronic condition like IBS is generally a better bet – if you determine that this is why you’re having headaches in the first place.

Sulfite-Rich Foods

Foods that contain sulfites include most things described as smoked, pickled, dried or aged. Think cheese, pickles, salami and other cured meats. Some fermented alcoholic beverages like wine also contain a fair amount of sulfites.

These foods can dilate your blood vessels, resulting in a headache that can be pretty bothersome while it lasts. Avoid these foods if you have sulfite allergies.

Houston Headache Institute

Contact the Houston Headache Institute to learn more about what could be causing your head pain. Visiting a skilled specialist is important, as many headaches can be the sign of something much more serious than just chronic stress or the common cold. It can also be difficult to diagnose headache pain without the help of a knowledgeable doctor.