7 Other Reasons for a Headache

The search for the cause and cure of the common headache has kept doctors and healers busy for centuries. While research has linked head pain to a number of common triggers — stress and colds/flu are popular — there seems to be an entirely new school of thought that connects headaches to a handful of unexpected sources.

The Guardian recently compiled a list of seven additional causes of headaches:

Toxic colon

While the healthy transit time of food through the bodies should be less than 24 hours, it’s often two days or more. “Diets of processed food and poor drink choices, along with a lack of exercise, are key factors for a sluggish colon. These can lead to self-poisoning of the whole system — in other words, a toxic colon,” explains Irena Dumbrell, a UK naturopath and colonic hydrotherapist. “The repercussions of a toxic bowel may cause a range of health problems, including frequent headaches.” She recommends detoxing the digestive system by trading red meat, rich foods, spices and alcohol for fruits, vegetables, salads, chicken and fish.

Too much medication

Overusing painkillers can actually cause you more pain. Using medication to relieve headache pain more than three days a week can make the situation worse. “The only way to make the headaches better is to stop taking the tablets,” says Dr. Anne MacGregor, director of clinical research at The City of London Migraine Clinic


Keeping anger inside can lead to headaches, but it’s important to find a space between a temper tantrum and complete internalization of feelings. “There are times when expressing anger isn’t the best thing,” says Robert Nicholson of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. “What I would hope to do is to help people learn ways to lengthen their fuses so they avoid becoming angry.” According to Nicholson, viewing life challenges in shades of grey instead of black and white, and letting go of things that are beyond your control can help diffuse anger.

Poor posture

Slouching puts extra pressure on the neck and scalp muscles.

“Your head is heavy,” explains Noel Kingsley, a practitioner of the Alexander Technique. “Essentially, you are carrying a 10-13 pound medicine ball on top of your shoulders that relies on the natural curve of your neck to support it. When your posture is off balance, your neck is thrown out of alignment and blood flow is reduced to your brain. It’s much like standing on a garden hose pipe,” he says.


“Some people get a dull headache after a visit to the hairdresser or barber where they have held their head back over the basin for a shampoo,” says Shirley Trickett in her book Coping With Headaches. “The headache can arrive later in the day or the following morning, so many don't associate it with their visit,” she explains. “It can be avoided by bending forward over the basin.”

Down time

It’s possible to get a headache even when you’re seemingly relaxed. These “leisure” headaches are the result of factors that have built up during the week: stress, lack of sleep and missed meals. And for some, extra sleep can lead to a headache.


Sometimes sexual activity can lead to head pain. Migraine expert MacGregor links headaches during sex to “excessive muscular contraction of the head and neck.” The pain will pass, but you should seek out medical care if you experience frequent episodes.

What are your headache triggers? How do you treat the pain?

[via Guardian]

Beat headaches with Rodney Yee’s Healing Yoga for Headaches sequence on GaiamTV.com!

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