Risk Factors for Headache
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.It is possible to develop headaches with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing headaches. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk Factors for Tension HeadacheSpecific Lifestyle Factors Emotional stress, fatigue, or anger can result in tension headaches. Other risk factors include smoking and having too little physical activity, and too little sleep. Medical ConditionsCertain conditions are associated with tension headaches and tightening of the muscles in the neck, face, and scalp. These include:
- Teeth clenching or grinding
- Gum chewing in children
- Sleep apnea
- Arthritis in the neck
- Being overweight
Risk Factors for MigraineSpecific Lifestyle FactorsLifestyle triggers can vary from person to person. Some reported triggers include
- Skipping meals
- Too much or too little sleep
- Emotional events
- Depression or anxiety
- Excessive alcohol use and hangovers
- Loud or sudden noises
- Caffeine or caffeine withdrawal
- Aged cheeses
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Certain fruits and nuts
- Fermented or pickled goods
- Cured or processed meats
- Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy; there may be some relationship between female hormones and migraines
- Headache remedies used on a daily or near daily basis
- Changes in altitude, weather, or time-zone
- Glaring lights
- Perfumes or other odors
Risk Factors for Cluster HeadacheSpecific Lifestyle Factors Cluster headaches seem to occur more often in smokers . Medical Conditions Having head surgery or a head injury increases your risk of cluster headache. AgeRisk is greatest between 20-50 years old.GenderMales are at greater risk for cluster headaches than females.
Risk Factors for Sinus HeadacheMedical ConditionsCertain medical conditions increase nasal secretions and cause swelling in the tissues lining the nasal passages. These changes lead to nasal congestion and stuffiness. The nasal passages become blocked and normal drainage cannot occur. Secretions that are trapped in the sinuses may become infected with bacteria or, rarely, fungus. The swollen tissues or infection may create pain and pressure.Conditions that increase sinus pressure and increase your risk of sinus headache include:
- Persistent cold or upper respiratory infection
- Ear infections
- Nasal polyps
- Nasal deformities, such as a deviated septum
- Cystic fibrosis
- Problems with the immune system
- Prior sinus surgery
- Facial injuries that block sinus passages
Bigal ME, Lipton RB. Modifiable risk factors for migraine progression. Headache. 2006;46:1334-1343.
Brandes JL. The influence of estrogen on migraine: a systematic review. JAMA. 2006;295:1824-1830.
Gardner KL. Genetics of migraine: an update. Headache. 2006;46:S19-24.
Headache—frequently asked questions. National Headache Foundation website. Available at: http://www.headaches.org/education/Tools%5Ffor%5FSufferers/Headache—Frequently%5FAsked%5FQuestions. Accessed November 19, 2013.
Headache. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/headache/detail%5Fheadache.htm. Updated November 8, 2013. Accessed November 19, 2013.
8/27/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Robberstad L, Dyb G, et al. An unfavorable lifestyle and recurrent headaches among adolescents: The HUNT Study. Neurology. 2010;75(8):712-717.
1/2/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Watemberg N, Matar M, et al. The influence of excessive chewing gum use on headache frequency and severity among adolescents. Pediatr Neurol. 2014 Jan;50(1):69-72.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 12/2014
- Update Date: 12/20/2014
Exercise during pregnancy has been associated with many benefits for mom and baby. This review supports the trend and finds that even one day of purposeful activity per week may reduce the need for cesarean birth.
Maternal Caffeine Intake May Be Associated with Low Birth Weight
Prevent Eczema in Kids with a Daily Dose of Moisturizer
Broccoli Sprout Compound Associated with Reduction in Autism Symptoms