Plenty of questions may pop-up in your mind when you get a headache. Getting a few mild headaches is alright, but the cause for concern is when the headaches interfere with the day-to-day activities and make you sick all the time. Therefore, a proper and better understanding of your headache and the prospective causes associated with it are very important in preventing headaches and managing them better. The following are the top 9 causes of headache.

Vision Problems

Sitting too close to a computer or while reading & focussing on the words near your face or when you become too engrossed focussing on something near you, you may get you a headache. Farsightedness and short-sightedness can also cause headaches. In some people it is a birth defect and, in many people, it may develop after age 40. Your eye specialist or ophthalmologist can help in diagnosing the problem and treating it with appropriate eyeglasses, contact lenses or by eye surgery which helps correct the shape of your cornea.

Swollen Sinuses

A cold or flu or any other respiratory infection can result in inflammation of the hollow areas behind the cheekbones and forehead. This may cause heaviness in the head. The pressure, heaviness and swelling could cause pain. The headache becomes severe and pulsating when you tilt or move your head in forward or backward direction or bend over. Breathing difficulties, nasal congestion and mucus build up and thickening of mucus blocks the nasal passages – which may result in sleepless nights and morning headaches. You can manage this type of condition with over-the-counter medicines. However, when the symptoms are manageable – its alright, but when the symptoms become worst and don’t go away, then take medical help.

Ear Infections

Middle ear infection and inner ear infection can disturb your hearing and cause headaches too. Bacteria and viruses may enter the middle ear and cause middle ear infection – which is associated with severe pain, discharge of liquid, pus or blood. If you notice these symptoms, then it is necessary to inform or see your ENT specialist. Your doctor will help you in managing your headache, earache and swelling.

Pain Relievers

Many people resort to over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin when they get headaches or when they frequently encounter severe headaches. Over-the-counter medicines can trigger headaches if they are used for more than 15 days in a month. Rebound headaches are common in individuals who suffer from migraines and also in those who frequently use medicines – such as prescription opioids and drugs with caffeine. If you think that your headache is getting worst owing to your medicines, then talk to your doctor who will prescribe different medicines or change your painkillers.

Stiffness in Neck and Shoulder

Many of us are aware of tension headaches, but don’t know how they result. Nowadays many people hunch over their desktops and laptops for hours together and also use mobile phone while driving. For holding the phone to ear while driving they use the support of their shoulder. The tension that result in the jaw and shoulder muscle can cause tension headaches. Even sitting for too long in a car can also cause tension headaches. One can counter such types of headaches with over-the-counter medicines, by using warming pad or by taking hot shower and also by taking a cup of tea or coffee. However, changes in your lifestyle will help in stopping such headaches from starting. You can do regular exercise, meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, Reiki, and other relaxation exercises to stop such headaches from occurring.

Wrong Pillow

Sleeping in wrong position whole night especially when you have to sleep on a bad mattress or a wrong pillow can put pressure on your head and changing body positions constantly by flipping can also lead to headaches. Therefore, you can keep your body and head in a good resting position while sleeping by a pillow that helps in keeping your head and neck in sync with the rest of your body. If you are still not getting any benefit by changing your pillow and mattress, then talk to your doctor or physiotherapist.


Hunger can trigger headaches especially migraines, which can become worst due to hunger and dehydration. If you skip a meal, your blood sugar levels drop triggering a headache. Therefore, if you are prone to headaches, then don’t skip meals – and, instead of three big meals have four to five small meals.

Skipping Morning Coffee

Skipping coffee or tea in the morning especially when you are habituated to it may cause headache. The reminder comes to your head rather severely with a throbbing headache. If you drink coffee in the morning and if it is not available, then go for green tea, black tea or even a dark chocolate if tea is not available. It will help you with your headache. Excessive usage of caffeine, especially coffee is not good for your health. However, if you drink coffee excessively, then don’t leave it at once, rather cut down its usage by about 20% per week. By doing so your body will get used to it and you will reach to a healthy intake.

Eating Headache Trigger

The foods you normally take can also trigger headaches. Though the effect of foods differs from person to person and other lifestyle factors, but, in general, the following foods can trigger a throbbing headache:

Fermented foods

Bacon, Sausages and hot dogs

Pickled foods

Aged cheese


Some fruits and nuts

Ice cream

Flavour enhancing agents like MSG

Bottom line

Prolonged usage of headache medicines, nasal inhalers and decongestants may cause rebound headaches and also make your condition worst if you have other health issues like high blood pressure. Therefore, it is better to talk to your doctor before taking any over the counter medicines to treat your headaches or headache associated with other cause.