What Causes Headaches?

Tension headaches are caused by stress, muscular tension, vascular dilation, postural changes, protracted coughing or sneezing, and fever. Physical and mental conditions that can lead to chronic muscular tension and headache include:

There are several well-known triggers associated with cluster headaches, including drugs that dilate or constrict blood vessels and alcohol. This suggests that changes in the walls of blood vessels in the head may be partly responsible.

Some researchers believe that a low level of endorphins may cause frequent, severe, or chronic headache pain. Endorphins are painkilling compounds found in the brain.

Recent studies have shown that environmental triggers may cause headaches in some people. These factors include changes in barometric pressure and altitude, inclement weather (e.g., heavy rain or snow), and high winds.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 31 Dec 1999

Last Modified: 18 Sep 2015