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Possible Reasons for Your Headaches

Margaret Minnicks has been writing for HubPages for a long time. She is an expert about a variety of subjects she writes about.


Almost everybody has headaches, and some people have them more often than others. Headaches don't come without a reason. There is always a logical explanation for having headaches even though the reason might not be obvious at first.

The word "headaches" is a general word for pain in the head, face, and neck. Besides, there are different types of headaches even though people lump all of them under one heading. There are about 200 different types of headaches, but most people are familiar with only migraine and tension headaches.

Below are some possible reasons for that splitting headache you usually have. In order to treat the headache and get some relief, it is good to know the reason for it.


A person might have a throbbing headache the day after excessive drinking the night before. The name for that is a "hangover." If you have ever had a hangover, you know exactly what it feels like. You enjoyed it when you drank, but nobody loves the effects the morning after.

The short answer is that alcohol rids the body of the liquid that it needs. A hangover accompanied by a headache is common in men who have five to eight drinks and women who have three to five.

The best and most immediate cure for a hangover is to replenish your body with water, broth, or sports drinks. Take over-the-counter medicine for pain, but avoid acetaminophen because it is hard on your liver after you have been drinking. However, any other anti-inflammatory drug may help.


If you are in the habit of drinking coffee, you will get a headache when you don't drink a cup. In other words, a caffeine withdrawal will trigger a headache.

If you can't get your regular cup of coffee in the morning or any other time of the day, drink black or green tea or eat a small piece of dark chocolate to get rid of your throbbing headache.

Colds and the Flu

It is common for a headache to occur when you have a cold or the flu. That's because those conditions can affect the areas behind your forehead and cheekbones. When mucus doesn't drain properly, your sinuses will cause you to have a headache.

Taking over-the-counter medications can give you some comfort. You don't need to call the doctor unless the symptoms become unbearable and linger for a long time.

Ear Infection

An ear infection might make you have a headache caused by bacteria, a virus, or a buildup of fluid in the inner ear. Most ear infections heal on their own within 1 to 2 weeks. No one wants a headache to hang around that long.

You can take medicine to manage the pain and for the swelling to go down. Contact your doctor if the ear infection continues.


Everyone knows some exercise is good, but people have noticed that they get headaches when they overdo it.

It might be nothing to worry about if you get a minor headache once in a while when you run, swim, or lift weights. Bring it to your doctor's attention if it happens often and if you also have blurred vision.



With as much work as people do on the computer these days, a headache is likely to show up sometimes. Make sure you are taking a break from staring at the computer screen for long periods of time.

Also, make sure you get your eyes checked at least once or twice a year.

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Some people have headaches when they eat certain foods, such as aged cheese, fruits, nuts, foods with nitrates (bacon, hot dogs, sausage), pickled foods (relish, sauerkraut), and MSG.

Notice which foods trigger a headache, and minimize the times you eat them.

Head Injury

If you have had a head injury of any kind, you might suffer immediately or even months later. The headache might get worse during times of stress.

Pay attention to symptoms that might be present along with a headache. See a doctor if you experience confusion, forgetfulness, nausea, or weakness.


Some people get a slight headache when they get hungry. Diabetics might have low blood sugar if they go too long without eating. Being hungry will trigger a headache. Therefore, it is wise to not skip meals.

Diabetics should carry healthy snacks with them whenever they are out and about to prevent low blood sugar and headaches. They should always have something like crackers, nuts, or raw vegetables with them.

Ice Cream

There is such a thing as an "ice cream headache." It is not caused by the amount of ice cream a person eats. Instead, it happens when people eat ice cream or something very cold too fast. That is also called "brain freeze."

Usually, a brain freeze lasts only about a minute, but an ice cream headache could last longer. Doctors believe the cold temperature makes blood vessels in the mouth shrink. That triggers pain signals to the brain and is nothing to worry about. Just remember to eat ice cream or cold foods more slowly.

Pain Relievers

It is ironic that common over-the-common medications that you use for pain will give you pain if you use them too often. You might get migraine headaches if you take aspirins, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen more than 15 days a month.

You will get a headache if you take prescription opioids and drugs with caffeine for 10 or more days a month. Some people don't know they shouldn't take those medications that often.


You might get a tension headache by doing three things:

  1. leaning over your computer for long periods of time when you are typing
  2. holding your telephone between your neck and shoulder when you are talking on it
  3. having the habit of tensing the muscles in your jaw

If you are guilty of one or all three of the above things, then a hot shower, heating pad, and over-the-counter medications will help. Some people say it helps them to exercise, relax, and meditate when they suffer from tension headaches.



It is strange to say, but your pillow could be giving you a headache. If your head is on a low pillow or no pillow all night, you are bound to wake up with a headache in the morning. You might end up tossing and turning which keeps you from getting a good night's sleep.

If you sleep on a wedge pillow that raises your head and neck, it will keep them in line with the rest of your body.


The change in the weather might cause a headache. Changes in the seasons, temperature, humidity, air pressure, and other weather conditions can trigger headaches.

There is nothing you can do about the weather, but you can take over-the-counter pain relievers to get some comfort from your headaches.


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