Why Does My Head Hurt? Is It Stress Related?

In the medical world, headaches are still a widely-debated topic. Many of the causes of headaches are still a mystery to professionals, however, there are some general rules which been established over time.

When Your Head Hurts it Could Be Caused By Stress. Don't Ignore The Pain!
Manage Your Stress Better With An Online Therapist

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Stress and headaches are considered to go hand-in-hand, and it's not difficult to see why. When we have a million thoughts running through our heads, it's easy to get overwhelmed with information and begin to feel as though there's a fire burning in our brains.

Types of Headaches

There are three common types of headache which are often considered to be caused by stress. However, this isn't entirely true. The following headache types are generally considered to be caused by other factors:

  • Migraines: These are headaches that are defined by their intense length. Migraines can last for days at a time, and usually occur in one side of the head. Migraines are not thought to be directly linked to stress, however, those suffering from stress may be more susceptible to suffering from migraines.
  • 'Secondary' headaches: these are headaches which are direct effects of more severe conditions such as brain tumours. Although a person in such a tragic circumstance would likely be suffering intense stress during such an ordeal, stress is not thought to be a primary factor in these types of head pain.

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Stress & Headaches

The third and main type of headaches directly related to stress are tension headaches. A tension headache usually involves intense pain on all sides of the head, often with tightness in the centre of the forehead and sometimes stretching down to the top of the neck.

A tension headache is not thought to be serious in any way. Most people suffering with this kind of pain are able to go about their daily activities, albeit in severe discomfort. This type is head pain is considered to be a primary response to overwhelming short-term circumstances.

For example, while stress is considered to be caused by major events in a person's life (planning a wedding, changing careers, giving birth), it is not these types of events that cause tension headaches. All of these are long-term incidents which can be addressed over a lengthy timeline. Instead, it is more likely to be the every-day irritations which cause the type of stress that subsequently triggers tension headaches; sitting in traffic, enduring irritating noises, hectic workdays, losing your keys, etc.

Why Does My Head Hurt So Bad?

If your headaches are only suffered for short periods of time and crop-up during times of exhaustion, they are likely stress-related and can be addressed as such. As simple as it may seem, relaxation techniques such as regular exercise, proper diet, getting enough sleep, and taking regular breaks can address these types of headaches relatively quickly.

When Your Head Hurts it Could Be Caused By Stress. Don't Ignore The Pain!
Manage Your Stress Better With An Online Therapist

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However, if your headaches are significantly lengthy, immediately look for constant medical help. It also is important to seek seek professional help in order to address their root cause. In many cases, headaches can be brought on due to factors unrelated to stress - factors that are not severe by any means. Such factors are often out of our control and it may just be a case of waiting them out. However, intense headaches can sometimes be a sign of a more serious underlying issue, so it is important to address them with urgency.

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