Is Stress Giving You Recurrent Headaches?

Is Stress Giving You Recurrent Headaches?

Up to 75% of adults experience at least one headache in a given year. While the occasional headache may seem tolerable, recurrent bouts can interfere with your well-being, your moods, and even your ability to function. And emotional stress is a common headache culprit.

Our expert team at Houston Pain Specialists, led by board-certified pain management specialist Hui Kang, MD, evaluates headache symptoms and formulates customized treatment plans to bring you lasting relief.

If you’re bothered by frequent headaches, read on to learn how stress may contribute, plus ways we can help.

Why stress headaches happen

A range of factors can fuel headaches, from infections and injuries to chronic diseases, such as diabetes and fibromyalgia. Stress often triggers headaches by increasing muscle tension or leading you to involuntarily grind your teeth. 

In both cases, the tenseness usually results from everyday stressors, like navigating a work challenge or sitting in rush-hour traffic. Your shoulders, head, neck, or jaw muscles tighten in response to the irritants, causing a tension headache.

Stress can also trigger migraine headaches if you’re prone to them — which is the case for 70% of migraine sufferers. And people who experience daily migraines tend to report high levels of stress. 

Stress headache symptoms

Symptoms from a stress headache are the same for headaches in general, depending on the type you experience.

Tension headache symptoms may include:

Migraines tend to cause more severe pain than tension headaches. You might also develop vision changes, light sensitivity, nausea, or vomiting with migraines. 

What to do about recurrent stress headaches

You can find relief from recurrent headaches. If stress management fails to bring your symptoms to a halt, we may recommend:

We can also help you pinpoint your personal headache triggers, so you can take steps to minimize or avoid them. Common lifestyle triggers include skipping meals, a lack of sleep, and particular foods and drinks, such as processed meats and red wine. 

While caffeine may improve acute headache symptoms, the stimulant commonly triggers migraine pain. Minor caffeine withdrawal can have similar effects. 

For that reason, you may benefit from limiting your morning coffee or black tea to a day or two per week so you don’t develop a dependency.

To learn more about frequent headaches or get started toward worthy relief, contact our Houston, Texas, office today to schedule an appointment.

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