The Link Between Stress and Headaches

The Bottom Line

Are you feeling rushed? Are you dreading a big meeting at work? Take it from the leading provider of natural tension headache treatment in Johnstown, Ohio – these events can all add up to stress and headaches. Often, it’s not the event itself that results in a headache but your body’s reaction to stress. If you deal with stress by clenching your jaw or tensing your muscles, you may be more likely to experience headaches due to these coping behaviors. So, why does this happen and what can be done about the stress and headaches cycle? Read on.

Why it Matters

Way back when, our bodies evolved our fight or flight response for the purpose of making sure we would be adequately prepared to deal with any of the physical dangers we very realistically could have encountered on a daily basis. As a result, our heart and breathing rate, blood pressure, and blood flow to our extremities all increase during such an event. It’s this fight or flight response that allowed us to effectively prepare for battle or to flee from predators in the wild. Of course, we’re still hardwired with this very useful and necessary instinct, but times certainly have changed! Today, our bodies find it more difficult to differentiate between physical danger and psychological stress. We may react to that dreaded big meeting at work with the same internal reactions as if we were being chased by someone or something!

So, how does all this relate to headaches? If there’s one thing you should understand about stress, it’s that it can and often will worsen your symptoms when you’re not feeling well. There is a very real link between all kinds of stress and headaches. Episodic headaches, or those that occur sporadically, are often triggered by isolated, stressful incidents. A few of the most common everyday stress triggers include anxiety, poor sleep habits, or significant life changes.

Chronic headaches are often triggered by daily, constant stress and a lack of regular exercise. To help you combat this cycle of stress and headaches, we’ve compiled a list of some of our top tips for reducing stress so you can reduce your headaches.

Tips for Reducing Stress and Headaches

Exercise More

Regular exercise boosts endorphins, which help put you in a better mood. Making time to get up, get out, and get moving regularly also helps boost your overall energy levels so you can shift your focus away from whatever event or string of events is stressing you out.

Get Some Sleep

We repeat: get some sleep to turn the dial down on stress and headaches. When you can, aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night and do your best to keep your sleep schedule consistent. Falling asleep at the same time every night and getting up at the same time each morning will help you fall into a healthy sleep pattern. Recent studies indicate that our sleeping habits can contribute to our risk of experiencing headaches, particularly migraines. In fact, the majority of people living with chronic migraines and other chronic types of headaches often also experience some level of insomnia.

Relax

This is more than just a mantra when it comes to reducing stress and headaches, ladies and gentlemen. It’s important to set aside time to specifically practice relaxation techniques that can help you feel calm during periods of high stress. Meditation and yoga are two techniques that can help you feel both physically and mentally relaxed so you can mitigate the onset of stress.

See a Chiropractor

Keeping your spinal joints moving correctly can help reduce the strain on your spine and its supporting muscles. Chiropractic care can help you relieve pent-up stress in your body and get you feeling better quickly.


So, come see us for natural tension headache treatment in Johnstown, Ohio. Tension headaches are triggered when the neck and scalp muscles become tense or contract, and this often occurs when we hold our heads in one position for an extended period of time. Many people spend their days working at a desk and doing so for hours on end usually results in an uptick in tension headaches. Sleeping with your neck in an awkward position may also trigger a tension headache. Recent studies have shown that chiropractic care can help headache patients find lasting relief. Chiropractic adjustments to specific joints in the neck, upper body, back, and other extremities can help correct the physical imbalances behind those tension headaches, so you not only move better but feel better.

Next Steps:

So, can stress cause headaches? Yes. While there is a link between stress and headaches, now you know there are very simple, real ways you can combat this cycle. Remember, when you feel your stress levels starting to rise, take a moment to practice your favorite relaxation techniques. Make time for essential preventative self-care like daily exercise, balanced meals, and balanced sleep. And be sure to periodically schedule visits with your favorite chiropractic team. If you’re interested in natural tension headache treatment in Johnstown, Ohio, we’d love to help you! Our expert team will work together with you to keep your body relaxed and moving well to help you find lasting relief from stress and headaches.

Science Sources:

Sleep and Migraine. Headache. 2018.

Manual Therapy Effect on Tension Headache. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2016.

How Does Stress Impact the Body? Forbes. 2018.

Tension Headache. MedlinePlus. 2019.

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