Headaches and migraines are very common and can be extremely difficult to deal with. 40% of people suffer from a headache at least once a week, while 67% admit to having a headache once a month. There is no cure for migraines and doctors don’t fully understand what causes them, or why some people suffer so severely with the condition. However, we do know that there is a genetic link and having certain other conditions can increase the chances of getting a migraine.
Everybody is different, and different things can cause us to have a headache or a migraine. Individuals have different triggers and there could be a number of reasons why a headache develops. Finding out the cause of a headache can help alleviate symptoms and stop headaches being so frequent. Here are the main causes of pain in the neck and head.
The most common type of headache is a tension headache, and the most widespread cause is stress. Periods of extreme stress can bring on a headache, or if you suffer from stress on a long term basis then you might also suffer from recurring headaches. Try reducing tension and stress by taking part in regular exercise and relaxation and make sure you have some ‘me time.’
Muscles in the neck can send pain to the head – which means that poor posture and slumping could be the primary cause of headaches. Tenderness in the neck, caused by tension and straining, often leads to referred pain in the head – a tension headache. Reduce daily pressure on the neck by sitting up straight and maintaining a good posture. ‘Text neck’ or hunching over a laptop could be the root of the problem.
Perfume and strong smells
This is a headache trigger that you can’t always avoid. Perfumes and other strong smells such as household cleaners or air fresheners can be the cause of a headache. Certain sprays and cleaners contain chemicals which could trigger a headache or migraine – so do your best to use fragrance-free cleaners. Or better still, it’s a great excuse to get out of the housework!
Food and drink
Especially for migraine sufferers, triggers could include certain foods and drinks. It’s a good idea to keep a food diary to try and identify food-related triggers, and then test the theory by avoiding the food for a few months and see if the migraines subside. Some foods contain chemicals which are known for causing a migraine in some people, such as chocolate, aged cheese, diet fizzy drinks and processed meat.
If you’re not sure what is causing your headache or you need relief from your symptoms, there are various headache treatments you can try.