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What's Causing Your Frequent Headaches?

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Are you suffering from headaches several times a week or perhaps even daily? It's important to get to the bottom of what's causing your headaches, since if you can eliminate that cause, you can reduce their frequency and severity. Here's a look at several common causes of frequent headaches and what you can do about them.

Stress or anxiety

Has your life been overly stressful lately? Maybe you've been going through some changes like a new job or perhaps you've been dealing with some social turmoil. Stress and anxiety can lead to headaches -- particularly tension headaches that manifest as pain and tightness around the forehead.

If you think your headaches may be due to stress, try working some stress-management techniques like meditation, exercise, and yoga into your life. Consider cutting some activities out of your schedule so you have more time to relax. If these measures don't reduce your headaches within a few weeks, talk to your primary care doctor about your stress and the related headaches. You may be suffering from a more serious case of anxiety, and treatments like therapy and anti-anxiety drugs can help manage this anxiety so your headaches don't appear as frequently.

Too much computer time.

Do your headaches appear after you've spent a few hours looking at the computer screen? Chances are, the glare from the screen is making your eyes work too hard, and this is leading to your headaches. You can help prevent future headaches by turning up the contrast and turning down the brightness on your screen. Take a break from looking at your screen every 30 minutes or so. If you still have headaches, talk to your eye doctor about glare-reducing computer glasses. Even if you don't wear glasses for impaired vision, you can get non-magnifying glare reduction lenses to help protect your eyes and prevent headaches.

Sinus pressure.

Does your head feel stuffed up? Do you frequently feel like you're having trouble breathing through your nose? If you answered yes to either of these questions, plugged sinuses are probably to blame for your headaches. When your sinuses are full of mucous, they put pressure on the rest of your head, leading to headaches.

There are many causes of sinus congestion. If you suffer from allergies, your congestion might be an indication that it's time to talk to your doctor about finding a more effective medication to control your symptoms. Doing a better job of staying away from the allergens to which you're allergic will also help. Sinus congestion can also be caused by sinus infections. If you also have a cough, feel like mucous is draining down your throat, or have a sore throat, you probably have a sinus infection that's contributing to your headaches. If this has been going on for more than a few days, you'll want to see your doctor. Chances are, you need an antibiotic to help your body fight off the infection (and put an end to the headaches).

Lack of sleep.

If you're not getting a full, 7 - 9 hours of sleep per night, this could be contributing to your frequent headaches. Try cutting out unnecessary activities like watching television and browsing the internet so that you can get more sleep. If you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, consider your sleep environment. Make sure your room is dark, cool, and quiet. Stay away from bright screens for a few hours before bedtime. If you still struggle to sleep and are suffering from headaches as a result, your physician may be able to recommend a mild sleep-inducing medication that will ensure you get your rest so that your headaches fade.

If none of these causes seem like plausible explanations for your headaches, then it's important to see a doctor at a clinic like Rural Health Services Consortium Inc. In rare cases, frequent headaches may have more serious causes like tumors and blood clots. Your doctor can run tests to rule out these serious causes and help get to the bottom of what's causing your frequent headaches.