Causes of headache


Headaches are common and affect many people. There are many different types of headache that can have various causes. Since headaches are a very troublesome disorder for most of those affected, which can limit their problems very much, it is useful and important to recognize the cause. Accordingly, attempts can be made to counteract the emergence of headaches. For example, a headache diary can be kept as a support, through which the occurrence of headaches can be related to other factors.

You can find out why some people have headaches when they cough at:
Headache when coughing - that's behind it!

Typical causes of headaches

Typical causes of headaches include, for example:

  • lack of sleep

  • Dehydration

  • stress

  • Weather change

  • Fluctuations in hormones

  • Alcohol or cigarette consumption

  • Excessive noise

  • Long stay in bad air


Stress is a common cause of physical symptoms - headaches are an expression of most people. The exact causes have not yet been finally clarified. Among other things, increased tension in the muscles with persistent stress plays a role, which can provoke headaches. Most often, headaches of the migraine type occur due to stress or a migraine attack can be triggered by acute stress. Accordingly, in the case of recurring headaches, attempts should be made to lower the stress level and to carry out regular relaxation exercises.

Read more on this topic at:

  • How can you reduce stress?
  • Consequences of stress
  • Are you stressed out?

Weather change

Many sudden headaches are associated with the weather. These people are also known as weather sensitive as they react with a sudden change in weather with a headache. This often applies to migraines. The exact causes of the link between the headache and the weather have not yet been clarified, but various theories exist. This includes the consideration that the air exchange deteriorates in particularly humid air, which can lead to a deteriorated supply of oxygen. An alternative consideration is to change the air pressure, which also affects the blood pressure and thus the blood supply to the brain.

lack of sleep

Many people suffer from sleep problems, and this often leads to a permanent lack of sleep. This puts extreme stress on the body as sleep is important for the entire body and immune system to recover. Correspondingly, a lack of sleep leads to a weakening of the immune system. This makes the person affected more susceptible to minor infections, which usually have no effect on the body. But this leads to headaches, fever and a feeling of exhaustion more often. In addition, tiredness leads to tension in the muscles in the neck area, which can further aggravate the headache.

Read more on this topic at:

  • Sleep disorder
  • Consequences of lack of sleep


A very common and well-known cause of headaches is lack of fluids. The reason for this is that much of the body is made up of water. In addition, water is essential for the blood to be able to flow easily through all large, but above all through all small vessels in the body. If there is a lack of fluid, the blood loses fluid accordingly, it becomes thicker and can no longer flow through the smaller vessels in the brain as well. As a result, the tissue there receives less oxygen. The result is a headache. Accordingly, a sufficient supply of water should always be ensured, with a known migraine at least two liters per day.


Most people are familiar with the typical hangover headache the next morning after consuming alcohol. The headache is caused by several effects of alcohol. As is well known, alcohol is broken down in the liver and the substances produced can increase the production of urine in the kidneys. Accordingly, the body loses water, making the blood thicker. Furthermore, the increased urine excretion also leads to a loss of minerals and electrolytes, which also promotes headaches. To effectively counteract the hangover headache, it is advisable to drink plenty of water, eat enough and get some fresh air.

Read more on this topic at:

  • Consequences of alcohol
  • Hangover after alcohol
  • Effect of alcohol


Consumption of nicotine from smoking cigarettes can be the trigger for the most common different types of headaches. This is because the nicotine in the body and also in the head causes acute narrowing of the vessels. This alone does not cause the pain. However, this can happen when the blood vessels expand again to their original size. This increases the amount of blood flowing through and decreases the blood pressure. This can act as a trigger for a headache attack such as a migraine attack in many people who are prone to it. If headaches and nicotine are linked, attempts should be made to quit smoking.

Read more on this topic at:

  • Consequences of smoking
  • nicotine
  • Illnesses related to smoking


Long or frequent exposure to noise puts stress on the body. This can often manifest itself in physical symptoms. In addition, noise can also lead to psychological stress as it can be a great burden. This can lead to problems sleeping, recurring nervousness, and various types of headaches. Noise can also trigger a migraine attack, for example, and should therefore be avoided if possible if you are aware of it.

Bad air

Bad air can also be a trigger for headaches. Often the lack of ventilation of a room is the cause, to which many people react sensitively and develop headaches. But various pollutants, such as tobacco smoke or fragrances, can also promote the headache. Even in rooms where many people stay for a long time, some can develop headaches. The reason for this is the accumulation of carbon dioxide, also called CO2, that gets into the air when you exhale and can also provoke headaches.


Tension in the muscles can lead to pain. This is the case at various points in the body, such as the joints, as well as in the area of ​​the neck and shoulders. Here the tense muscles can encourage headaches. This is further promoted by stress or overexertion. This must be distinguished from the so-called tension headaches, which are mostly attributed to tension in the muscles. In the meantime, however, it has largely been proven that it is not the tension, but a disruption of the perception of pain that is the cause.

Read more on this topic at:

  • Tension
  • Headache after exercise

Hormone fluctuations

The regulation of hormones in the body is a very complex process that can often lead to fluctuations. Many diseases, such as an overactive or underactive thyroid, lead to changes in hormones. This can affect your sensitivity to pain. Hormone fluctuations during your period can also lead to headaches. This is often due to an imbalance between the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Some women also complain of headaches when taking the pill, as this can also lead to changes in hormonal balance.

Read more on this topic at:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hormones

high blood pressure

Headaches can also occur with high blood pressure. These are often located in the back of the head and usually appear in the morning shortly after awakening. This is because normal blood pressure decreases during sleep. If, however, there is now high blood pressure, this often leads to sleep problems, which can manifest as headaches the next morning. Since high blood pressure often leads to attacks of dizziness due to the disturbance of the circulatory system, headaches can also be exacerbated.

Read more on this topic at:

  • high blood pressure
  • Symptoms of high blood pressure

Mental illness

For many people, mental health problems, mental illnesses or the strain on the psyche that manifests itself in stress can lead to headaches. The headaches are often of the tension headache type, which usually occur on both sides and can last up to 7 days. Depression is a mental illness that causes headaches for many people. The exact causes for this are ultimately not clear. However, this makes it clear that there is a close connection between the psyche and the body. Psychotherapy can be helpful to counteract this type of headache.

Read more on this topic at:

  • depression
  • Tension headache

Bad teeth

The teeth or the so-called dental status can also have an impact on the development of headaches. This can have different causes. Bad teeth and bad dental care can lead to inflammation or the formation of abscesses in the area of ​​the jaw, which can also manifest itself in headaches. This is because the jaw and oral cavity have relatively close spatial relationships with the rest of the head. However, tension in the muscles in the jaw, for example from grinding teeth at night, can lead to headaches.

Viral infection

With a virus infection, so-called general symptoms often appear first. This also includes headaches. These are a sign that the body is generally ailing. With a viral infection, the headache usually occurs together with other complaints. This includes pain in the joints and muscles, as well as fever and chills. The feeling of exhaustion is also typical for an incipient infection. Depending on the type of virus infection, coughing and shortness of breath can occur in addition to the headache.

Read more on this topic at: Virus infection - everything at a glance

Sinus infection

A sinus infection leads to a build-up of fluid or pus in the sinuses. This causes pain that can radiate to the head and face. Depending on which paranasal sinus is affected, the headache is localized in different places: When the frontal sinuses are inflamed, the pain mainly occurs in the forehead area and also in the eyes. In the sinuses that are deeper in the head, such as the ethmoid cells, on the other hand, pain in the back of the head can occur.

Read more on this topic at: Sinus infection

Otitis media

A otitis media can also lead to a headache as the pain can radiate to the ear. It is important that a dangerous complication of otitis media, which can lead to headaches, is distinguished from it. The causative pathogens can migrate into the so-called mastoid, an air-filled bony structure, and from there also reach the meninges. This can have serious consequences, which is why a doctor should be consulted urgently if a headache occurs with otitis media.

Read more on this topic at:

  • Otitis media
  • Symptoms of acute otitis media


It is true that meningitis, also known as meningitis, manifests itself in the form of severe headaches, among other things. However, headache should not be thought every time that it is caused by meningitis. Meningitis is accompanied by other typical symptoms. Above all, these include a high fever, which usually sets in very suddenly, and an extremely stiff neck. This means that the affected person can no longer lift their head while lying down without feeling a lot of pain. If these symptoms are noticed, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.

Read more on this topic at:

  • Meningitis
  • Signs of meningitis
  • meningitis

Brain tumors

When people experience more headaches, many fear that it could be caused by a brain tumor. However, this is only true in very rare cases. Indications of headaches that can be caused by a brain tumor are, for example, the nocturnal appearance and an increase in pain intensity over a short period of time. In addition, there are usually other symptoms, such as dizziness and nausea. Depending on the localization of the tumor, there are language restrictions, changes in personality, paralysis, sensory disturbances or gait disorders. These are perceived as the first symptom more often than the headache.

Read more on this topic at:

  • Brain tumor
  • Signs of a brain tumor

Cervical spine syndrome

In the case of a cervical spine syndrome, headaches originating in the neck area. In addition, there is strong tension and the affected person can hardly turn their head. A wide variety of causes, such as vertebral blockages or inflammation, come into question. The headache has its origin in the neck area, which becomes tense, for example, from working too long at a desk. In order to counteract these headaches, it is necessary to relieve tension, as well as to build up and strengthen the muscles in the neck.

Read more on this topic at:

  • Cervical spine syndrome
  • Cervical Spine Syndrome - Effects and Consequences
  • Cervical spine syndrome and headache


A common cause of headaches is migraines. Severe headaches, which are often pulsating and one-sided, occur again and again. This is also known as a migraine attack. Typical of this is also the appearance of warning signs that set in beforehand, such as seeing lightning in front of the eyes. Accompanying symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea are also common. Some forms of migraine are inheritable. The attack itself is often triggered by so-called triggers. These are certain stimuli that can lead to the occurrence of the migraine attack. These include, for example, stress, lack of sleep and hormone fluctuations, but also the consumption of luxury foods such as cheese or red wine.

Read more on this topic at:

  • migraine