Published on November 22, 2021

National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month: Common Causes 

Woman having a migraine headacheIt is safe to say that almost every person has experienced a headache at one point in their life. Headaches are the most common form of pain and is one of the top reasons for individuals to miss work or school and seek medical advice. According to MedlinePlus, tension headaches are the most common type as they are created by tightened muscles in the shoulders, neck, scalp, and jaw. Tension headaches are often linked to stress, anxiety, and depression.

Another common type of headache is migraine. Migraines are a chronic, reoccurring headache that causes severe throbbing pain often on one side of the head. Migraines may also produce additional symptoms such as sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and weakness. With about 12% of Americans affected by migraines, June is observed as National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month.

Migraines are most common in women, those who have a family history of migraine and/or have other psychological conditions and can be caused by several different factors. Researchers believe that migraines likely have a genetic cause, but the following can contribute to or trigger symptoms:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Bright or flashing lights
  • Loud noises
  • Strong smells
  • Medicines
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Sudden changes in weather or environment
  • Overexertion (too much physical activity)
  • Tobacco
  • Caffeine or caffeine withdrawal
  • Skipped meals
  • Medication overuse (taking medicine for migraines too often)

Not all headaches require a consultation from a medical professional, however, if you suddenly develop headaches or your headaches worsen it is best to see a doctor. Should you be diagnosed with migraines, treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing future headaches. Your healthcare provider may prescribe different types of medicines to treat and prevent symptoms. You may also try resting in a quiet, dark room, placing a cool compress on your forehead and drinking fluids. 

Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care. These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.