What Causes Chronic Headaches?

March 27, 2012

Chronic headaches have afflicted a lot of pain on a lot of people. The Mesopotamians even wrote about headaches back in 3,000 B.C. Fifty centuries later, scientists are still searching for conclusive answers about what causes them.

If you suffer from chronic headache pain, being able to identify its root cause is critically important.

Some headaches may be related to a serious medical condition such as encephalitis, meningitis or brain tumors. But if your headache isn’t a symptom of an underlying illness, you may suffer from chronic headaches.

Although chronic headaches are usually not as frequent or as debilitating as migraines, they can be triggered by some of the same causes, including:

  • Stress – pressure at work or home, financial pressure, anxiety, depression, grief
  • Diet – skipping meals, certain foods, preservatives, alcohol and red wine, coffee, tea, cola, artificial sweetener, excess sugar
  • Sleep – lack of sleep, too much sleep, change in sleep habits
  • Hormonal – menstrual cycle, postpartum, menopause
  • Lighting – bright or glaring lights, flashing lights or screens
  • Physical – overexertion, exercising in the heat

Identifying your triggers is key to relieving headaches and preventing them. Keeping a headache log can provide valuable clues. Sharing it with your physician can help him formulate a customized headache treatment plan that is right for you. Together, you and your physician can determine which course of treatment is best for your type of chronic headache pain.

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