The Surprising Causes Of Headaches You NEVER Knew

by Phil Mutz
Phil is an Editor at LittleThings. He loves writing and the outdoors. You can often find him at the movies or the park.

I don’t think that there is anyone who doesn’t suffer from a headache every now and then. In fact, according to the National Headache Foundation, about 45 million Americans suffer from chronic, recurring headaches every year.

The sudden onset of an extreme and prolonged headache can often be one of the health signs and symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore. But in most cases, we have just learned to live with the fact that sometimes our heads hurt. I just never realized that I might actually have some control over whether I get a headache or not.

When I saw this list of crazy things that can cause headaches, I knew I just had to share it. Some of them I was already familiar with, like stress, but others were completely surprising.

I try to remain aware of what is going on with my body, like keeping an eye out for symptoms of a stroke. Now I’ll be able to take control of things before a headache even strikes.

Were you as surprised by some of these crazy causes of headaches as I was? Let us know in the comments!


Crazy causes of headaches
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Weather can have a large impact on your headaches. Heat and humidity are most often associated with headaches, but rain or changes in barometric pressure can also be the culprits.

According to WebMD, “When the weather changes, so does your chance of getting a migraine. Whether it’s a heat wave or a cold snap, the change can trigger a headache in some people.”

Wearing sunglasses and avoiding direct sun can make the difference between a pounding headache or not.


Crazy causes of headaches
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

When you feel yourself getting a headache, you should always consider whether or not you have been getting enough water. Dehydration can be a large cause.

According to the Mayo Clinic, dehydration can cause headaches when they “activate the pain-sensitive nerves of the head.”

As a solution, they recommend that women drink at least 9 cups of fluids a day and that men drink 13. Staving off dehydration can help stave off that pesky headache.


Crazy causes of headaches
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Do you seem to get a headache every time your in-laws come to town? This shouldn’t be too surprising, as stress is one of the main causes of headaches.

According to a 2012 study in the Journal of Health Psychology, stress was listed as the most common cause of migraine pain.

While doctors aren’t quite positive about why the nerves in your brain relay pain messages when you are stressed out, they recommend de-stressing with activities such as yoga or relaxing outdoors.

Red Wine

Crazy causes of headaches
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Red wine can definitely cause a headache…and not just from the obvious hangover. Red wine contains something called tyramine, which is known to affect the body’s blood vessels, causing headaches.

Neurologist Dr. Mia Minen writes that tyramine might not be the only reason. She thinks that polyphenols in red wine “may interfere with serotonin metabolism in the brain.” Translation: more headaches.

The National Headache Foundation recommends limiting your drinking to only one beverage to cut back on the head pain.

Strenuous Exercise

Crazy causes of headaches
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Working out can have many positive effects on your body. But performing an exercise that is too strenuous can have negative effects as well.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Exercise headaches occur during or after sustained, strenuous exercise. Some activities associated with exercise headaches include running, rowing, tennis, swimming and weightlifting.”

They do note that these kinds of headaches are usually harmless. The best way to combat them is to be aware of which activities may be increasing your pain levels.


Crazy causes of headaches
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that your sense of smell is directly connected to your brain. So naturally, this can turn strong smells into triggers for headaches.

According to WebMD, “Powerful smells  even nice ones  can set off migraines in many people. It’s not clear why this happens, but the odors may stir up your nervous system.”

Make sure to pay attention to any smells that seem to cause a headache. They tend to be potent smells like perfumes, paint, or even flowers.

Go to the NEXT page for even more surprising causes of headaches.